In the wake of two police shooting deaths, Dearborn Police will be getting some help from the U.S. justice department.
Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad reached out to the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) earlier this year.
Haddad says he did that after two high-profile police shootings in December and January, when Dearborn officers shot and killed two unarmed African Americans in separate incidents.
“I’ve been at this for 43 years, and I clearly recognize that nothing splits the community apart more than the use of force issue by law enforcement,” Haddad said.
“We cannot police a community that doesn’t trust us.”
The COPS office will offer technical assistance as part of its “critical response” process, says Noble Wray, head of the Policing Practices and Accountability Initiative and former chief of police in Madison, Wisconsin.
In addition to a “critical review” of Dearborn’s use of force policy, Wray says that process will also help the city strategize ways to recruit more diverse officers; offer training in implicit bias and procedural justice; and, at some point, host a regional workshop to discuss recommendations of President Obama’s task force on 21st century policing.
“We think that we will walk away from the Dearborn Police Department with some best practices that we can share with the industry,” said Wray, emphasizing that Dearborn’s participation is “voluntary.”
Wray said the critical response process is “customized” to each police department it works with, currently including Minneapolis and Tampa. He said they hope to wrap up the process in Dearborn by the end of the year.
The investigations into the shooting deaths of Kevin Matthews and Janet Wilson, which are being conducted by Detroit Police and the Michigan State Police, are still ongoing at this time.