The department says its traffic unit will evolve its mission "toward the prevention of crimes."
The city of Detroit has contracted with the Manhattan Institute and the Bratton Group to teach the Detroit Police Department how to employ a New York City-style stop-and-frisk program, the Detroit News reports. A contract the city issued to the two firms says that "the DPD Traffic Unit (will) evolve its mission from principally the issuance of tickets toward the prevention of crimes."
Since a federal judge ruled New York's stop-and-frisk policies unconstitutional last week, it's no huge surprise that DPD officials are preemptively defending the program:
Detroit Police Assistant Chief Eric Ewing said the campaign is an extension of a longstanding practice.
“We’re already a stop-and-frisk agency; we’ve been doing it for years,” he said. “That’s just another way to say ‘proactive policing.’”
Ewing said Detroit police don’t specifically target minorities, but can’t avoid stopping them in a city populated mostly by African-Americans. “I can understand everyone’s concern about profiling, but Detroit’s population is mostly African-American, so of course we’re going to stop more black people,” Ewing said. “That’s not racial profiling; that’s just good police work.”
Stop-and-frisk definitely falls under the very broad category of "proactive policing," but does that really mean the DPD has long been doing what the NYPD has been doing? The News doesn't say. While citizen groups are already raising concerns, it's unlikely the department will experience much pushback outside of a court ruling. The civilian oversight board designed to keep the DPD in check has been "curtailed" by Detroit's emergency manager.
Top image: Rebecca Cook/REUTERS