Detroit police warned of tampering threat to vehicles

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Police are warning officers and anyone else displaying bumper stickers supporting law enforcement about a reported threat that gang members may tamper with their vehicles.

Detroit Police Second Deputy Chief James Fleming, head of the Communications Bureau, on Dec. 30 sent a departmentwide teletype warning officers: “According to a credible source ... gang members — notably those in large metropolitan areas — plan to loosen the lug nuts on officers’ personnel vehicles displaying Law Enforcement/Police Benevolent Association/Fraternal Order of Police plates or stickers.

“Officers are encouraged to continue to be extremely vigilant and exercise caution before operating any vehicle that carries a law enforcement affiliation, particularly if they have been away from their vehicle for an extended period of time,” Fleming wrote.

The memo instructs officers to contact the Michigan State Police Operations Center if they suspect anyone has tampered with their vehicle.

The threat and warning come amid what many describe as a hostile environment for law enforcement, with the recent slayings of two New York City police officers and an officer near Tampa, Florida, along with other reported attempts to kill officers that were thwarted.

Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association union, said police should take the threat seriously.

“Should anyone see someone tampering with a vehicle, they should report it to the authorities immediately and ensure the driver is aware their car was tampered with,” Diaz said.

“Motorists are injured and killed all too often by wayward tires on the roadway without the help of those who would care less about the safety of our citizens.”

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