Detroit’s Police Chief: How he’s fighting crime in the bankruptcy era

Detroit’s Police Chief: How he’s fighting crime in the bankruptcy era

“When James Craig took on the job as Detroit Police chief last year, the city was facing the prospect of bankruptcy, the political structure had collapsed, an emergency manager was in place,  police precincts were closed to the public after 4 p.m. and the department was in need of a serious shakeup.”

That’s how Deadline Detroit’s interview with Chief Craig begins.

In a lengthy back-and-forth discussion, Deadline’s Allan Lengel gets Craig’s insights on the department’s restructuring during bankruptcy, the city’s culture of crime and the improvements the department has made after what he says were decades of disinvestment.

“It was the greedy, dirty corrupt, status quo politicians that destroyed this city. Certainly I’m talking about past administrations, I’m going back before Bing. They didn’t invest in this police agency, they didn’t invest in public safety, they didn’t care about it. It’s evident. I mean when you look at the dilapidated vehicles.  The blessing for us, our friends in Detroit corporate world donated 100 new police vehicles and that was great.”

Craig isn’t sure he’ll stay on past Orr’s tenure — he reports to the emergency manager but says he attends Mayor Mike Duggan’s weekly cabinet meetings. But while he’s here, he’s dedicated to continuing department and community improvements.

“As much as I tell you that I’m comfortable in telling you crime is down that doesn’t mean that we have fixed it. I’m saying the work continues,” he says. “Kevyn Orr did not bring this fiscal crisis to Detroit. Kevyin Orr is fixing it, giving the hand he ‘s dealt.