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On "troubling day," new officers join Detroit police ranks

New Detroit police officers receiving their badges
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
New Detroit police officers receiving their badges.

Eighteen new officers officially joined the ranks of the Detroit Police Department today, but the celebration was tempered by what their chief called a “troubling day.”

There was a mix of music, cheers and somber prayer during the graduation ceremony for the members of class “2016C.”

Chief James Craig said the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police officers has put all law enforcement on a “heightened state of alert,” but won’t change how his department does business, or approaches dangerous situations.

“Certainly we don’t want our police officers to overreact, but we certainly don’t want them to underreact,” Craig said. “Both can be very dangerous. This is where training is critical.”

Craig said there’s also no plan to change how the department handles protest, including demonstrations against police brutality and officer-involved killings.

“What happened last night, certainly in my judgment, can’t be attributable to those who were protesting,” Craig said. “It was one suspect that decided to do something very different.”

The events of the past week definitely left a mark on the celebrations, though.

Denese Lott had very mixed feelings as she watched her nephew graduate.

“It was very emotional, with everything going on,” Lott said. “I’m happy and sad at the same time. I’m scared for him, but I’m proud of him.

“I mean, it’s a war going on, us against them. So I’m scared for my nephew.”

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.
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