Inkster Police Chief Hilton Napoleon, center, seen discussing policing initiatives in December. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Inkster — The Michigan State Police has stepped up its presence in the city by providing directed patrols to the city, which has seen its police force reduced by nearly two-thirds over the past few years due to severe budget issues.
Wednesday’s decision for an increased presence by the state police comes one week after Inkster Police Chief Hilton Napoleon asked the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department to absorb his 24-member department.
The city of 25,000 is under a financial consent decree with the state and has seen its number of officers and police employees drop from 73 a few years ago to 25, according to Napoleon, the brother of Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
With cuts to the department as well as the county’s narcotics task force, crime has been going up, including homicides. In 2012, the city recorded 12 homicides; in 2013 that number rose to 16.
In July, with crime rising and revenues falling, Inkster formed a partnership with the MSP that allowed Inkster police to handle service calls while the state police handled all fatal and non-fatal shootings within the city.
But it wasn’t enough.
“Due to an uptick in these incidents, it was determined between the city and MSP that further initiatives would be needed to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Inkster,” Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said in a press release.
According to the Michigan State Police, uniformed troopers from the Metro Post will concentrate their patrols on “hotspots” of criminal activity based on real-time information from Data Drive Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) service.
These directed patrols will be scheduled during different times and different days of the week based on the crime data — an approach that “has proven successful in reducing crime in Detroit, Pontiac, Saginaw and Flint,” according to the Michigan State Police.
The State Police will also meet with community groups, business owners and faith-based organizations to help reduce crime within the city.
Inkster is also applying for a $486,000 state grant to pay for making the department’s radios compatible with the county’s, three vehicles and uniforms.
The city would also pay the county its roughly $2.6 million police budget under the plan involving the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department if approved. The plan has received the OK from the city’s police unions.