Duggan: More drug busts to come
Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday said Detroit police will be ramping up pressure on drug dealers and prostitutes to address quality of life problems for city residents.
Duggan stressed that goal during an interview with The Detroit News on Monday, days after the City Council unanimously approved a resolution that transferred authority back to Detroit’s elected leaders while keeping Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place to navigate the remainder of the Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Duggan said city departments will be more integrated with the police department’s efforts to seize drug houses and crack down on prostitution — a connection he says was lacking while the police department was under Orr.
“City departments will all be supporting the police chief as opposed to him acting as an island,” Duggan told The News. “I thought the emergency manager made a mistake from the beginning, not integrating the police department with the rest of city government.”
Duggan, who under Thursday’s agreement was officially granted authority over the city’s police and finance departments, said he already sat down with Detroit Police Chief James Craig on Friday to review his crime reduction plan. Duggan said he’s pleased with Craig’s progress and “I expect him to be here a long time.”
The mayor added he spent Monday morning with finance officials looking at revenue opportunities for Detroit.
Orr previously had given Duggan authority to oversee blight elimination and most other city services when the mayor took office on Jan. 1.
Since then, Duggan has launched multiple initiatives to revamp city neighborhoods with the goal of retaining residents and boosting Detroit’s population.
In the spring, he unveiled a neighborhood rebuilding program that forces property owners to fix up vacant and blighted structures or risk losing them.
Duggan said drug raids will soon become more frequent and once a house is targeted twice the Detroit Land Bank Authority will sue in an effort to take the house from its owner.
The mayor on Monday also praised U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ decision to dismiss a request to block the city’s water department from shutting off service over delinquent bills.
Orr delegated authority of the water department to Duggan in the midst of a controversial shut-off campaign in July. The mayor temporarily halted the program and developed a 10-point plan to better inform and assist residents. “We’re dealing with this fairly,” he said.
The council approved the agreement for Orr’s role following closed-door talks spanning 16 hours over three days.
Under the agreement, Orr maintains control over the bankruptcy process, including negotiations with creditors and managing litigation.
Rhodes will decide if the city’s plan is fair and feasible.
Duggan, who is expected to testify in the city’s historic bankruptcy trial, said implementing the plan will be tough, “but its the only choice that we have.”