Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Raid @ the CAID

I am one of the only bloggers in southeastern Michigan who hasn't posted about the police raid, which happened at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit a little over a week ago. For the benefit of anyone who hasn't already heard about this, approximately 130 individuals (almost all of whom were from the suburbs) were ticketed and had their cars impounded for drinking in an establishment wasn't licensed to sell alcohol and that was operating after 2 a.m.

I have no problems with the police enforcing Michigan's liquor laws. My only issue comes from the prioritization of this.

At the CAID, there was:
  • No gambling;
  • No prostitution;
  • No narcotics trafficking or use;
  • No gang related activity; and
  • No criminal activity at all except for the underlying lack of a liquor license, which is a misdemeanor.
Again, I wouldn't have an issue with a couple dozen police officers descending upon the place if it weren't for the fact that there are so many other high-priority crimes that were being ignored by the Detroit Police Department. I talked with residents of the Woodbridge neighborhood, which surrounds the CAID. At the same time the police were dealing with this, there was reportedly a gang of teenagers going through the neighborhood smashing car windows and harassing residents.

The residents of that neighborhood repeatedly called the police. However, the police never showed up. They were too busy busting the drunk suburbanites to deal with a series of felonies.

That, quite frankly, brings into question how the Detroit Police Department is allocating our very limited resources. There is simply no way that DPD can currently handle all of the calls for police services. We need to prioritize what those officers are doing.

As a related side note, this year the Warrendale Community Organization called on both Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and the Detroit City Council to hire more police officers and to invest in their infrastructure so that they could handle more calls. Unfortunately, they ignored our request.

There's an election next year. We'll deal with how the Mayor and City Council ignored that request then. However, in the mean time, I feel it's unconscionable for DPD to allocate approximately two dozen police officers to deal with a relatively low-priority item when there are much higher priorities that are being ignored.
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