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Detroit 2020 Interview: “A Conversation with Chief Craig”

October 09 2013 | no comments

Chief Craig Photo 1

Detroit’s new top cop is beginning to reach out –and speak out – about crime in the city.

“I am committed to Detroit,” Police Chief James Craig told an audience of about three dozen people at Triumph Church.
Craig used the appearance last weekend as a call to action for Detroit residents.

In his first sit-down interview with Detroit 2020—the chief pulled no punches. “This is without a doubt the most challenging city to police in America,” Craig said. “For a lot of reasons.”

One of the biggest reasons: crime.

“I want your viewers to know that we are going in the right direction but I also want to say that there’s still tremendous fear,” said Craig. “Year-to-date, we’re sitting on a 13% reduction in homicides. Overall crime, which includes property crime and violent crime, is sitting on a five percent reduction, so we’re trending right.”

Officer morale is another major concern for Craig. He’s moved quickly to eliminate the 12-hour shifts forced on officers’ months ago. “Certainly morale is important because that translates into how we serve our community and I’m about service,” said Craig.

Police response times are another area of focus for the chief.

“No community member should ever have to wait 50 minutes for police to respond to an emergency,” said Craig. “People weren’t really being held accountable. They are now. I mean, the fact that we have not one, but two former dispatchers that are facing criminal charges is evidence of how seriously

Craig took an additional step as well. “The fact that we demoted a command level officer, who was in charge, I was very specific in what I was looking for in terms of delivering the kind of service to this city, that did not happen,” he said.

Historically, police chiefs in Detroit have served at the pleasure of the Mayor. Craig was hired by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and he argues, keeping politics out of the job would allow for more stability for the people of Detroit.

“I’m excited that we are embarking on something very different and as I’ve said to my staff, we’ve got to get this right,” Craig told Detroit 2020. “We’ve got to show the community, we’ve got to show the elected leaders, this is the way we should function.”







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