Photo by Bob Oliver
Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad stands behind a table filled with more than 20 firearms ranging from handguns, rifles and shotguns that were picked up by the Police Department during three incidents this year regarding either a suicide threat or a hostage situation. All three incidents were peacefully resolved without injury to either the police or the people involved.
By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN — Standing in front of a large table filled with tagged and labeled firearms, Police Chief Ronald Haddad said they were all brought into the department from three different incidents this year: two suicide threats and one hostage situation.
“This is an alarming trend, not only in the city of Dearborn but across the country,” Haddad said. “Increasingly, law enforcement officers are faced with people who are heavily armed and have to go into the situation and try to bring it to a peaceful resolution.”
Haddad highlighted the three incidents in a press conference at the Dearborn Police Department Thursday.
The first incident occurred Jan. 5 when officers responded to a house on Williamson Court on a report of a man holding his family hostage after a family dispute.
The four family members inside the house were able to escape but then the man said he intended to kill himself. After talks with police the man turned himself in without incident.
On April 4, police were called about a suicidal man inside of an apartment on Firestone Street. A standoff between the man and police lasted several hours but the man eventually surrendered
The latest incident occurred July 18 on Woodview Lane when a resident called police to report that her husband was acting erratically after having threatened suicide the previous day.
Officers arrived and a Crisis Negotiation Team was able to convince the man to allow police to take him to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Haddad stressed that all three of the men were not charged with criminal behavior but were taken to medical facilities for mental health evaluations and help.
“We have developed here at the Police Department a non-criminal medical intervention model that’s taken on national attention,” Haddad said. “We try to work with our mental health agencies and our social agencies to intervene and diffuse different situations.”
Each situation was also resolved without injury to any officers or the men involved, but police captured more than 20 firearms — handguns, hunting rifles and assault rifles — that the men had in their possession or inside their houses.
Haddad said that all of the weapons were obtained legally but were confiscated by police following the incidents on Williamson and Firestone because of the mental condition of the men and, in the third incident on Woodview, at the request of the the man’s wife for her personal safety.
He added that in order to have the weapons returned the men will have to appear before a judge in the 19th District Court and plead their case.
Haddad added that he respects the Second Amendment rights of citizens to own firearms but is worried that many people do not keep their weapons properly secured and said that many stolen weapons end up being used in criminal activities.
“Over 3 million weapons are stolen and unaccounted for every year in America, and those are just the ones that are reported,” Haddad said. “I’m more concerned with accountability and responsibility and how citizens take care of their guns and secure them from the wrong hands because at some point the guns are obtained legally and then end up in unlawful situations.”
In addressing the cache of guns brought in to the department, Haddad said extensive training and communication between the different departments in the DPD helped bring the three incidents to peaceful resolutions and have helped the department create an “excellent record of resolving incidents of barricaded gunmen, hostage situations and armed and suicidal persons favorably.”
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])