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Detroit Police Chief promises massive reorganization, revives "gang intelligence"

 Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he’s in the midst of a sweeping departmental reorganization.

He’s also thinking about reviving a version of the department’s gang squad. That unit disbanded in March amidst great controversy.

Craig says “it won’t be like the old days,” though. He plans to bring back a highly-specialized Tactical Services Section, which could include a gang intelligence arm.

But Craig says his first priority is putting as many officers as possible on patrol. “Frankly, the thing I’m most concerned is our staffing,” he says. “I’ve made a commitment that our core work in patrol must be whole. And everything we do beyond that is in a support role only.”

Craig says that means staffing as many administrative jobs as possible with civilians. The department is also looking to hire 60 officers. It currently has 25 in an Academy class.

Craig has also cut the mayor’s executive protection unit—from 22 officers to just 6. “And the officers that were formerly in that unit are being reassigned to operational assignments,” he says.

Craig, who’s only been on the job in Detroit for a little over a month, was critical of numerous inefficiencies he’s found within the department during his short tenure. They include letting grant funds lapse, and paying for vehicles with expired leases.

Craig expressed frustration with what he calls the department’s “top-heavy” structure, noting that it was time for an overall “leveling.” And he had this message for his command staff: “Take a look at your commands, start identifying police officers working in clerical positions, and make a decision. Because there will come a time very soon when I will make that decision for you.”

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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