Craig appoints commanders to each Detroit precinct

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit police Chief James Craig on Thursday announced the appointment of commanders to each of the city’s precincts, part of his restructuring of the Police Department.

The move comes days after a federal judge’s order that released the department from federal oversight.

During a Board of Police Commissioners meeting at police headquarters, Craig announced several promotions to the role of commander as well as the captains who will serve with them in the precincts.

Craig said the structure is akin to each neighborhood having a chief. It supports the consent judgment post consent decree, he said.

“The best way to accomplish that is to make sure you’re holding your management team accountable, yet you have the requisite managers and executive in place to facilitate that,” he said.

Craig said a number of factors were taken into account in the restructuring, including residents’ concerns about neighborhood stability.

“One of the concerns was movement of command officers in and out of the precincts,” he said. “That was top on our list.”

Craig said much consideration was given to matching commanders and captains based on factors that included each leader’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Police Department underwent federal monitoring 2003. It agreed to the monitoring along with a list of changes to avoid a civil rights lawsuit after suspects and witnesses accused officers of “subjecting individuals to uses of excessive force, false arrests, illegal detentions, and unconstitutional conditions of confinement,” a federal complaint said.

U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn dropped the court-appointed federal monitoring in August 2014, and an 18-month transition period began in which the feds reviewed internal audits, made on-site visits and offered technical assistance. The transition period ended March 31.

The new precinct structure is good news for the Police Department, said Cmdr. Ariq Tosqui, president of the Command Officers Association for the Detroit Police Department. Prior to the city undergoing bankruptcy, the department leadership structure had been fragmented, with various precinct models.

“The chief has made it clear throughout his tenure here neighborhood police officers is important,” Tosqui said. “Neighborhood responsibility is important in terms of command structure, whether it’s a captain or precinct detectives, precinct lieutenants and now your precinct commanders.”

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

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