By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Crime rates, a new consolidated dispatch center and disability registry highlighted a town hall meeting with Police Chief Ronald Haddad Nov. 30.
Major crimes such as assaults, breaking and entering, drug offenses, larceny from auto, robbery, vehicle theft and damage to property — decreased 12.26 percent from 2011 to 2015.
Crimes in the same categories decreased 7,080 to 5,836 from the end of 2015 to October 2016.
“We went from being on the Forbes list for America’s most dangerous cities to one of the best cities to raise a family within the last year,” Haddad said.
He also touched on the September arrest of Ikeie Smith, who is accused of being involved in 35 rape and home invasion cases.
“Without the regional Operation Blue Light including 70 agencies working together, this man might still be on the street,” Haddad said. “We were able to arrest him with surveillance video from a neighboring community.”
Haddad gave a brief update on the two fatal police shootings of Janet Wilson and Kevin Matthews in January and last December, respectively.
Both families have filed lawsuits against the city and Police Department which “will take their course in court,” Haddad said.
“Mental illness was involved in both incidents,” he said. Wayne County Prosecutor “Kym Worthy is still looking at both cases, and I have faith she will make good decisions.”
A new consolidated dispatch center has received approval from three cities: Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Melvindale. Garden City, Inkster, Wayne and Westland were originally set to join, but have not made decisions.
The 500-square-foot Dearborn dispatch center is currently on the second floor of the police station.
Haddad said Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. showed him a 5,400-square-foot area to build a new center inside the Dearborn Administrative Center.
“There are eight consolidated centers currently operating in Michigan,” Haddad said. “This is nothing new and is a proven method.”
Dearborn will switch from its current 400-megahertz system to an 800-megahertz system in order to be on the same system as other cities for communication.
A radio system, voice recorder, 911 telephone system and radio logger also will be purchased under the agreement.
There will be a total of 38 full-time dispatchers answering 911 and non-emergency phone calls.
“We’re behind the curve and the new system will be more efficient,” Haddad said. “No decisions have been finalized because budgets, ordinances and union details need to be worked out.”
Haddad said incidents using force have decreased from 43 to 15 in the past year and the department has had no use of stun guns in 2016.
He also said 100 people have registered for the new disability registry which alerts public safety responders that aperson living in a home has special needs. Residents can sign up at cityofdearborn.org.
When asked by a member of the audience about body cameras, Haddad said they have been tested on police and that officers want them. He hopes that every officer in the department will have a body camera by July.
A resident asked about how the department plans to address the increase of hate crimes since the presidential election.
“We investigate all crimes and hate crimes,” he said. “Anyone involved in an incident can make a report with police.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)