Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Angels' Night Turns Hellish

More than 300 volunteers converged on the Northwest Neighborhood City Hall in an effort to keep arson and other crimes at bay. This, of course, was in addition to the hundreds of other volunteers who helped out elsewhere in Detroit. For most of Detroit, the 3 day period past uneventfully - with fires and crime continuing their 12-year decline.

Warrendale, however, was an unfortunate exception to this rule. While we thankfully didn't have any fires, we were not exempt from our share of problems.

Almost all of the cars on patrol from the Warrendale Radio Patrol where attacked by teenagers who threw eggs, lard and butter at them. In at least one case, the teenagers taughted the patrol by screaming, "Take your white ass back to suburbia where you came from," as they hurled eggs at the patrol car.

It's interesting that the teenagers assumed the folks from the Warrendale Radio Patrol were from the suburbs. In this case, while the couple was white, they were both Detroit residents and were patrolling less than 3 blocks from their home.

The real tragedy, however, came from the response the Warrendale Radio Patrol got from the Detroit Police Department.

When they first attempted to report this by telephone, the police hung up on them.

When they went to the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department, the officer at the desk initially refused to take a report of the incident and also refused to provide the patrol members with the name of the command officer on duty.

This, quite frankly, is unacceptable. I'm only one of the board members for the Warrendale Community Organization, but incidents like this make me wonder just how cooperative we will be the Angel's Night 2007 campaign. This year, WCO members staffed the offices and patrolled other neighborhoods who weren't able to generate enough of their own volunteers; all in addition to patrolling our own neighborhood.

Stupid teenagers throwing eggs can be dealt with by patrolling without the orange lights. It is hard to target patrol cars when you don't know who they are.

However, there are deeper, systemic problems within the Detroit Police Department that must be dealt with and dealt with expeditiously. Everyone from Chief Ella Bully-Cummings to the command officers at the Northwestern Division have promised to address those concerns.

When they do, you can read about them in this blog.
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