DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s former police chief is lashing out about crime in the city. Speaking exclusively with WWJ’s Roberta Jasina, Warren Evans said crime is “over the top.”
“I’m sick and tired of the crime rate. The police have a budget of over $400 million a year. If they can’t produce better results with that kind of budget, then shame on them,” said Evans.
But the problem doesn’t lie within the police budget, Evans said, it lies within the way the department strategizes.
“When I was chief for the city of Detroit, not only did we bring crime down significantly but we reduced the budget. It wasn’t about throwing more money at the problem, it’s about having the design to be proactive in chasing crime rather than reactive in waiting for it to happen. You sit back and wait for a call to come to go to the next scene where someone has been bludgeoned. That’s not what policing ought to be about. Policing ought to be about targeting the offenders that are most likely to create those problems and getting to them before they can get to the citizen that’s going to be victimized, and I’ve never seen a more reactive police department in my life than the one I’m looking at now,” he said.
Evans thinks the police in Detroit are more interested in spinning the news than doing their jobs. He said things are getting to the point where there’s not much to hold onto, in terms of trying to build for the future.
“The biggest problem is that the police department really, in my opinion, has given up the issue of trying to figure out how to solve the crime problem. They’re hunkered down trying to figure out how to placate the citizens and spinoff what’s happening in terms of blaming it on something else. If I hear again that the problem is lack of manpower, if I hear again the problem is we need to do a better job of raising our kids, it’s just, it’s going to drive me nuts. Those are social ills and those are issues that are important, but that can not be an excuse for not protecting your citizens,” he said.
Evans said problems with leadership and morale are also bringing the department down.
“The reality is, in the city of Detroit when you have 15 shootings in a 24 hour period, there’s something drastically wrong. The response from the police department, in my mind, the leadership in the police department, because there’s an awful lot of good officers out there trying to do what they can, but you don’t do much if you’re not deployed properly and if you’re not given the right leadership,” he said.
And if you don’t believe him, Evans said you can pretty much see for yourself.
“Go ask a police officer in the city of Detroit yourself, just candidly ask an officer what his mission is. And you’re going to see after you talk to three or four officers, there’s no one mission that’s there. The mission is to keep your head above water, the mission is not to get hurt; That’s not a mission for an organization. They’re not pulled together and motivated to solve the city’s problems because quite frankly, they don’t see the leadership there that’s necessary to make that happen. People will follow you if you know how to lead,” he said.
Evans said the department was doing a better job and ran smoother under his supervision.
“Crime was going down significantly two years ago when I was forced to resign. You know, this is not a sour grapes issue, it’s a reality. The numbers were going down. Now, the numbers are going up and they’re going up drastically. I don’t really think it’s rocket science to understand what the problem is. There may be some egos involved in dealing with what the problem is, but it shouldn’t be rocket science,” he said.
Evans said he wants to be part of fixing the problem, but isn’t looking to take on an elected position — although he said he wouldn’t completely rule it out.
Listen to the complete interview: