DEARBORN (WWJ) – Following recent fatal shootings involving police in Dearborn, the U.S. Department of Justice is stepping in to help.
The federal agency has agreed to review several aspects of policing in Dearborn, including use of force by police officers, bias training and recruitment efforts to better serve the city’s diverse population.READ MORE: 'My Name Is Sara' Film On Holocaust Survivor Premieres In Metro Detroit
The request came from Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad who says he contacted numerous agencies, including the DOJ COPS Office, looking for assistance in these areas.
“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 told WWJ’s Jon Hewett and other reporters. “I want to make sure our use of force policy is not only a best practice, but also most civil to our community.”
Haddad, as a news conference Thursday, referenced two specific cases:READ MORE: Dearborn Homecoming Festival Kicks Off This Weekend
Kevin Matthews, 35, was fatally shot by Dearborn police in December followed by 31-year-old Janet Wilson in January. Both Matthews and Wilson were black and unarmed, and both were visiting the city from neighboring Detroit.
While those shootings remain under investigation, Haddad said, he felt concerned enough to reach out to the DOJ — partially in an effort to smooth things over with local residents.
“I wanted to make sure that our immediate community here in Dearborn knows that we are transparent and that we’re committed to providing superior service by which every one of them has an equal partnership at the table with public safety,” the chief said. “And, more importantly, I want to see if we can bridge the gaps with our Southeastern Michigan community that we don’t share quite a positive relationship with.”MORE NEWS: Huron Valley Students Will Not Be Allowed To Carry Backpacks To High School Classrooms, Officials Say
“I want to make ensure that we’re on the right path for the future of our city and our department,” Haddad said.