Monday, July 06, 2009

Evans Becomes Chief of Police

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing fired former Chief of Police James Barren late on a Friday afternoon. Specifically, he did it at 4 p.m. on the Friday before the 4th of July holiday, according to an interview that Mr. Barren gave WXYZ-TV. In the realm of public relations, doing something late of a Friday afternoon is a famous tactic of burying a story since most reporters are gone by then.

Of course, it didn't work. A quick review of Google shows 420 stories about the firing and the fact that Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans has replaced him as chief of police.

Mayor Bing told reporters that this had nothing to do with the shooting last Tuesday of 7 teens at a bus stop in the Warrendale neighborhood. Quite frankly, I don't believe him.

Having worked for a few politicians, I believe this has everything to do with that shooting and - more to the point - the fact that Detroit Police Department still doesn't have any suspects in custody; that their only suspect to date was someone that they couldn't bring charges against due to a lack of evidence.

This is an election year. When things like this shooting make headlines around the year, and solid arrests aren't made promptly, politicians inherently start looking for someone to blame before the public piles the blame entirely them.

Mayor Bing, of course, is a businessman and not a career politician. This, in turn, means that there was likely a senior staff member within the Bing Administration who brokered this deal for Barren to be fired and for Evans to replace him.

Politics. This entire matter is pure politics, in my analysis.

Of course, the fundamental problem is that the next time a crime like this happens - like, say, 4 teens being raped on Detroit's east side - there won't be anyone left for Mayor Bing to fire as a diversion.

The roughest days for the Bing Administration clearly ahead.

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