Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cobo Quandry to Continue

Judge Isidore Torres of the Third Circuit Court has postponed his ruling indefinitely as to whether or not Interim Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. has the legal authority to veto the Detroit City Council's rejection of a plan to expand and regionalize Cobo Hall (1 Washington Blvd.). Reportedly, talks are under way among the various parties to amend the Cobo plan in such a way as to resolve the various concerns.

Quite frankly, I'm thrilled by this news. I hope everyone is able to come to some sort of an agreement that will enable this deal to move forward.

Of course, I also hope that the Mayor and City Council will be able to show the same diligence and expedience about improving police response, particularly in Warrendale as well as in Detroit's other neighborhoods. Since this saga with Cobo began, it's estimated that 20,500 police emergency calls to Detroit's 9-1-1 system have gone unanswered.

In spite of this, neither Mr. Cockrel nor the City Council have done anything to address this problem.
  • No discussions about how police resources are allocated;
  • No action to improve the Detroit Police Department's staffing levels - either civilian or uniformed;
  • No action to improve compensation, training or retention among police officers;
  • No action to improve the Detroit Police Department's infrastructure needs other than a few mini-stations, which have already proven to be ineffective;
  • No action to replacing Detroit Police Department's troubled Crisnet police report system, even though an internal DPD memo from September 28, 2006 showed that "department's ability to maintain its core functions in an efficient and effective manner has been greatly challenged" because of this system; and
  • No progress towards implementing a verified response system, similar to what police departments in most major cities use, to deal with false alarms.
The debate over Cobo should resolve itself soon. Detroit will most likely retain ownership of the building while granting operational control to this new regional authority.

The question that I wonder is: once that is resolved, will the Mayor and City Council finally start to address some of the fundamental issues within the Detroit Police Department?

Editor's Note: For a detailed explanation as to how I derived at the estimated number of 9-1-1 calls that go unanswered, please click here.
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