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Bing seeks Detroit police reorganization

The Detroit Police Department is launching a major re-organization to put more officers on the street.

On Wednesday, Detroit mayor Dave Bing and police officials finally unveiled the plan that’s been in the works for awhile.

They say the end goal is to put about 100 more officers on street patrol and investigations, in part by disbanding the department’s gang squad and tactical mobile unit.

But interim police chief Chester Logan says it should be a reminder that “everyone’s basic job is being a police officer.”

“That’s what we want 80% of our department to be. Not gang squad, not this or that," Logan said. "We’re trying to get away from specialization.”

Bing thinks it’s the best use of the department’s limited resources. “If we can’t hire more police officers, then we need to mobilize and re-deploy that resources that we have in this department," he said.

Detroit's police force has been reduced by about a third in the past decade, with budget constraints and attrition speeding up the process during Bing's term.

They would not give a specific timeline for implementing the plan, which needs approval from the Detroit Police Board of Commissioners. It also calls for restarting promotional exams to groom the next generation of department leadership. 

But Bing also said another key departmental move—finding a new permanent police chief—probably won’t happen this year.

“Whoever is the next mayor should really have a lot to say about who the permanent police chief is going to be," said Bing, as he again declined to say whether he would seek re-election in November.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio 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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