June 6, 2014 at 1:00 am

Detroit Police probe spurs shake-up

Chief revamps section that runs drug unit, which has drawn scrutiny

Detroit Police Chief James Craig on Thursday confirmed he has overhauled the Organized Crime Section, which is responsible for the Narcotics Section. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Detroit— Amid an Internal Affairs investigation into problems at the Detroit Police Narcotics Section, Police Chief James Craig has made sweeping changes to the unit that oversees drug enforcement operations.

Craig ordered the internal investigation last week after an audit uncovered a significant amount of unprocessed drugs and other evidence scattered haphazardly throughout Narcotics Base, the west side facility that houses drugs and paraphernalia confiscated by police.

A police source told The News large quantities of drugs that hadn’t been logged were found inside desk drawers and lying out in the open, rather than being tagged and stored properly.

Craig on Thursday confirmed he has overhauled the Organized Crime Section, which is responsible for the Narcotics Section.

“Based on information I received, I directed Internal Affairs to do an investigation into Narcotics,” Craig said. “I don’t want to get into the details of that investigation because it’s ongoing, but I will say I had some concerns over how the place was being managed, because we may not have been following proper policies and procedures.”

Craig said he would provide details as soon as the probe wraps up. “We’re getting it done as quickly as we can,” he said.

The command structure of the Organized Crime Section has been revamped. Capt. Marlon Wilson, who headed the unit, was moved to the 8th Precinct, while Cmdr. Charles Mahone, who was promoted from the rank of captain, will shift from the 5th Precinct to replace Wilson.

Capt. Rodney Cox, formerly of the 10th Precinct, also was moved to Organized Crime.

The changes are part of a larger shake-up of the Police Department, one of several since Craig assumed command last year.

Cox was replaced at the 10th Precinct by Capt. Nick Kyriacou, who was promoted from a Training Center lieutenant. Capt. Donna Jarvis was moved from the 8th Precinct to replace Kyriacou at Training.

Capt. Tim Leach was promoted from a fiscal management lieutenant, and will head the 11th Precinct, replacing Capt. Harold Rochon.

Rochon’s transfer to night command upset some community members, who complained at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

“I’m real mad,” said Bill Welborne, president of the City Wide Police/Community Relations group. “There’s been a lot of people moved in and out of the 11th Precinct; as soon as we get to know one person, they’re gone.”

Yolanda McCants said Rochon was set to meet with community members at June 28 event, “Join Hands with your Neighbors.”

“These constant changes are destroying the relationship between the police and the community,” she said.

Craig said he sympathized with the community’s concerns, but had his reasons for moving Rochon. “It was a change that had to be made,” he said. “I don’t want to elaborate.”

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