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Changes announced following two different corruption investigations within the Detroit Police Department

Detroit police officers
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

One corruption investigation into the Detroit Police Department is wrapping up, while another is just getting started.

DPD announced Tuesday it is ending an internal investigation into corruption within its narcotics unit.

Twelve officers left the department after they were accused of misconduct as part of “Operation Clean Sweep.” Allegations include overtime fraud, falsified search warrants, and perjury.

DPD’s director of professional standards Christopher Graveline led the investigation.

“One officer, we calculate, approximately $16,000 worth of fraud based on court appearances,” he said.

Graveline says inadequate supervision contributed to the group’s ability to commit fraud and the department is changing policies as a result.

“The practice of releasing or flipping felony drug offenders has ceased at the Major Violators unit," Graveline said. "While working overtime now, Major Violators members must do a body worn camera introduction, state their purposes and also on and off duty times.”

DPD Chief James White says the department is addressing those failings.

“We’re confident that we’ve rooted out the problems and that we can move forward.”

Graveline says supervisors will be present for future narcotics raids. He says eight officers could face charges.

Towing fraud

White also laid out plans to revamp the city’s dysfunctional towing system Tuesday, after an FBI investigation revealed widespread corruption in Detroit towing.

A former police officer is charged with bribery for taking kickbacks from towers. And a former Detroit City Council member pleaded guilty to taking bribes from towers.

White says one major change will be that towers will get contracts through a competitive bidding process. That will be handled outside the police department.

The department will also get a software program to ensure jobs are distributed neutrally and equally, and can track every tow.

There are also plans to launch an investigative unit to keep watch over the whole system, and build an app that lets customers request tows with clear pricing information up front.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET (part of the MPRN network), covering breaking news, politics and community affairs.
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