Saturday, November 19, 2011

Did DPD Northeast District Police Officers Turn Their Backs On The Citizens of Detroit?

Last night it was reported that a "handful" of sworn Detroit police officers from the Northeast District ended their shifts significantly shorter than their scheduled shift. Anywhere from 16 to 21 of that District's available 26 officers on duty allegedly went home with a case of the "Blue Flu."

Since police officers in this state can't legally strike, it has been widely rumored that they all merely claimed to be sick and were consequently released to go home to recover. Obviously the odds that all of these officers suddenly and simultaneously become so ill that they couldn't work are remote, at best. Accordingly, DPD's Police Chief announced today that the incident would be investigated by their own Internal Affairs Department.

The apparently coordinated timing and the centralization of the officers' inability to work their schedule has led many people to suspect that this incident was an illegal "wild-cat strike" done in retaliation for rumored layoffs and pay cuts that may affect the police department.

This past Wednesday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced during a live televised speech that the city was in dire straights financially and that significant action would be required to fix our budget. If we failed to quickly fix our finances, the mayor told us (i.e. the residents) that the city could run out of cash by April of 2012.

Among the solutions Mayor Bing announced would be the following: 10% wage cuts across the board, increased health care contributions by city employees, increased taxes for corporations, and reduced payouts to city retirees.

Further, another consequence of our city not being financially solvent would be the installation of an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) by the state of Michigan to make the necessary changes to fix the city's finances. An EFM would have sweeping power and authority: contracts could be broken, assets could be sold, taxes could be raised, and public employees could be laid off from the city's manpower rolls.

Mayor Bing also made sure to emphatically make two crucial points during the speech: He did not want an EFM assigned to Detroit and he would not "gutt police and fire." Both points drew significant applause from the attending crowd.

On this past Friday Mayor Bing responded publicly to critics of his speech from Wednesday, who said publicly that his previously announced plan was not acceptable to solve Detroit's financial problems. Accordingly, Bing announced layoffs for 1,000 city employees.

In contrast, his critics had suggested that as many as 2,300 layoffs would be needed due to an anticipated reluctance from city labor unions to break their contract and accept any concessions. With manpower from the police department and the fire department reportedly consuming almost 60% of the city's payroll, it seems difficult to believe that those aforementioned departments would not be impacted.

In the immediate aftermath of this alleged "sick-out," the Northeast District's territory - the most dangerous in the city - was left uncovered by police until adjustments could be made from other available units. Until we are officially told by DPD Brass, we won't know officially how long the period lasted.

If DPD's Internal Affairs investigation confirms that the sworn officers left their posts to make a cheap political point to the city's leadership, they should be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

Firing officers who went on a "wild cat strike" would be appropriate for no other reason than to send a clear message to other police officers who may be disgruntled. It is incredulous to believe that the public trust would be compromised by mere rumored pay cuts or layoffs - regardless if they ever materialize.

Despite the fact that the city of Detroit has a historic tradition of being a union stronghold, participants in a wild-cat strike - past or future - would be sorely mistaken if they thought that residents would sympathize with their actions. Residents of the city of Detroit - union members or not - will not support this action for no other reason than in the our city on average there are one murder, three rapes, 53 burglaries, and 97 assaults every day.

Hopefully, last night's incident will have a positive unintended consequence. Perhaps, residents who have not yet assumed responsibility for their safety will have been awakened from the false sense of security that the police department works so desperately to perpetuate.

DPD tells us that violent crime is down 10% relative to last year without acknowledging that it is still way too high, especially for a city that has lost a significant amount of its population over the past couple of decades. Of course, we have to conveniently overlook the fact that we are on pace to break a 10 year-old homicide record.

Another lie they tell the residents is that if they sell their firearms "back to" the police, the streets will be cleaned up and that the city will be safer. DPD has yet to prove that bold claim. Extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary evidence. We haven't seen it yet.

Folks still on the fence might finally assume responsibility for their safety and their families - move out or buy a firearm. Residents might also get the idea that many police officers, who have long ago moved from within our municipal borders, are only working for a paycheck and have no vested interest in what happens here. How else do you explain what "allegedly" happened last night?

Last night, a "handful" of sworn police officers turned their backs to us and paid us an undeserved slight. Now that you understand, what are you going to do about it?

Doing nothing is not an option. We now know that if we call, they might be at home sick.

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, NRAnews, Gun Digest, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, WJLB, WGPR and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about Detroit Michigan CPL Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Contact: Rick Ector
Phone: 313.733.7404

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