By ANJANA SCHROEDER
Capital News Service
LANSING – The State Police is helping the downsized Inkster Police Department by providing increased patrols to reduce violent crime, in addition to its comprehensive cooperation effort in Detroit and three other major cities.
Michael Canty of the Inkster City Council said the council passed a plan to request help for the police department.
“I contacted the governor personally and his office said the state would support Inkster in any way they could,” Canty said.
Two troopers were assigned indefinitely to augment the city department, he said.
State Police Capt. Monica Yesh said the city’s main problem is not enough officers although Inskter’s murder and violent crime rate increased throughout 2012.
State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etue said, “We don’t take over a police department but will work alongside them and bring the resources to help them.”
Yesh said troopers zero in on particular hot spots in Inkster and provide additional patrols where violent crime has risen, using data-driven intelligence and evidence-based policing.
The city department will continue to answer calls for service from residents, she said. “If they get a homicide or another crime where they’ll need additional resources, they’ll ask us.”
Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police based in Okemos, said, “While the State Police is a great asset for cities whose police forces have shrunk, it’s not a long-time fix.
“The Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police is more of a resource for the chiefs that offer ongoing training and education,” Stevenson said.
He said the association does not focus on creating solutions for police departments and the long-term solution is to find a way to bring back staffing levels and restore funding, the main issue that results in shrinking departments.
Stevenson said several cities and townships, such as Saginaw Township and Royal Oak, have started re-instating funds by millages passed on Nov. 6.
However, Inkster has the second-highest millage rate in Wayne County and the city is looking for alternative ways to alleviate its reduced budget, according to Canty.
It will be a long-term process but “we are looking at consolidating services like merging the police and fire departments or outsourcing services to the county sheriff,” Canty said.
In response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s message on reinventing public safety in March, the State Police created the Secure Cities Partnership to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in Detroit, Pontiac, Saginaw and Flint.
That’s possible because of the department’s regionalized, no-boundary, data-driven policing model, according to a recent report by the agency.
Yesh explained that troopers are deployed to different areas as needed. “That is the whole concept behind a regional policing plan – being able to take your resources that already exist and take them to areas that need a little more attention.”
The report said the State Police is using real-time crime data from the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety to identify criminal hot spots.
According to the department, troopers are sent out for six-week assignments to augment the local law enforcement.
She said, “We’re very mobile and able to move resources where they are needed to a particular community and we help that community and then move out. We’re not there to take over anyone’s police department or simply write tickets and harass people.
“We’re there to change behavior and reduce violent crime,” Yesh said.
By ANJANA SCHROEDER