Caution urged for Detroit area cops after N.Y.C. attack

Jim Lynch
The Detroit News

The alarming shooting of two New York City Police officers served as a harsh reminder for local officials about the dangers faced by those who wear the badge in the current post-Ferguson climate.

A 28-year-old man with a busy criminal past shot Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu Saturday in New York’s Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood. Prior to the shooting, investigators said Ismaaiyl Brinsley posted comments online indicating an intention to kill police officers.

In addition, he also made reference to the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner — two men who died in separate confrontations with police officers this year. Brinsley later shot and killed himself at nearby subway station.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported some large metropolitan police departments and unions had told officers to alter their patrol routines and use extra backup when possible on calls.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said the weekend’s events in New York would serve as a reminder for deputies of the dangers they face day in and day out.

“Any time there is an attack on any law enforcement officer, across the country or here in Michigan, it’s always something we take a hard look at,” he said. “We go back and stress to our deputies the importance of the basics and making sure they’re keeping their guards up.

“We want them to do the job and we want to ensure they go home to their families.”

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said the shootings, as well as ways to boost police security, would be a topic of discussion for city officials on Monday.

“I’m not sure what additional things you can do,” he said Sunday evening. “In some situations, where incidents occur involving a single police officer, you can add a partner. But this was two officers.

“I want to do whatever we can to protect our officers because they protect our citizens.”

On Saturday, Detroit Police James Craig said his officers had been urged to use greater caution in the wake of the New York shootings, as well as reports of recent on-line threats made against police officers in Cleveland.

“If someone chooses, gang-member or otherwise, to threaten Detroit police officers, we will use every effort to find you. We will arrest you. And we’re good at what we do.”

But in the post-Ferguson period, with anger directed at law enforcement personnel nationwide, even those statements drew criticism.

“Out of his own mouth, Chief Craig said that there are no credible threats against (Detroit) police officers,” wrote Roland Lawrence, chairman of the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee. Jones, 7, was killed in 2010 during a raid by Detroit police.

“Instead of offering remarks on how the community and police can improve their relationships, his remarks were antagonistic and insensitive to the challenges both police families and civilian families face daily.”

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