Police Partnering With Community Builds Trust

When the police partner with their community, it helps to build trust and cooperation. They start to hold each other accountable and rely on one another. But this doesn’t happen overnight and there is not one single way to accomplish such a partnership. Most of the time, it just take an extra step to show that you care about the people and place within the community. People like the idea of having someone on their side, even where there isn’t an immediate crisis.

The police department becomes a stronger entity when they coordinate their offers and increase public awareness. Encouraging community engagement is key to their success. This occurs on so many levels and can be as simple as daily interactions with the people living in their community to attending community events and providing supports for those in need of specific services.

The first step in police partnering with community is to have better training that includes transparency, competency, bias training, and more. Positive interactions have momentum. Another area that needs attention is youth development. Having programs in schools, mentoring, and coaching kids allows them to develop positive relationships with officers. Through such program, kids learn valuable skills and start realizing that the police are people they can trust.

Another area where police officers can build trust within their communities is to provide resources to its residents. Being a resourceful person who can offer advice on where to go for help shows the community that the police care about them and they can be trusted. Offering resources for mental health, daycare needs, abuse, and low-income housing, for example, is an added value for residents.

Police can also help by being aware of problem areas within the neighborhoods, such as areas with poor lighting, parks in need of better care, missing street signage, as well as problem businesses. Looking at the neighborhood as a whole and making it better for the people who live there is a good way for police to partner with their communities to strengthen their trust.

Lastly, mingling with the members of the neighborhood is great for partnering with the community. Host a BBQ or police station open house, participate in bike patrols, attend various meetings, and visit churches, for example. All of these activities allow for conversation, recognition, and bonding. These are activities that help build trust between the officers and the community. It is the smile, the handshake, and the familiar face that make the difference. It is just that little extra on top of patrolling and protecting the neighborhood that can increase trust in the police and develop a sense of partnership between them and the community.

Illegitimate Speed Limit Challenged in Hamtramck

Of all the criticisms Michigan roadways receive in their perpetual history of construction, reconstruction, and inevitable deconstruction, perhaps the most unassuming is that of the deceptive and costly speed trap.

Such was the case on a strip of the NB Chrysler Service Dr. to I-75 in Hamtramck where David Cherry was stopped and ticketed for exceeding the posted 25 MPH speed limit. Cherry who would later go on to challenge the questionable speed limit in court said in a statement to local news, “You know I had just a sense of injustice after I got stopped,” as it turned out, Cherry’s sense of injustice was perfectly justified when the conditions of the roadway were further examined.

The stretch of the NB Chrysler Service Drive in question is located in a non-residential district without intersections on any its three lanes (none of which are designated for parking). When Cherry presented this evidence in court, (he represented himself) an unlikely supporter arrived in favor of the defendant-that man was the newly appointed Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino. Recognizing the unnecessary and exploitative speed-limit, Garbarino was determined to change the rules of the road even in his own city; he said, “The fact that you brought it to our attention, we realized it had to be done and we wanted to get it done straight.”

Prior to the conclusion of the case and the resulting dismissal of Cherry’s ticket, several other experts were interviewed as to the legitimacy of the speed limit.

Lieutenant Gary Megge of the Michigan State Police Traffic Services Division stated, “I’m not aware of anything that would give that 25 any enforceability”.

Jim Walker of the National Motorists Association explained that all speed limits must be decided upon by the results of an engineering study designed to calculate the appropriate speed, and in regards to Cherry’s case said, “Twenty five is not logical and I would think that it’s probably, technically, not legal.”

With this outpouring of support in favor of changing the speed limit, Garbarino announced, “[We] conducted a speed study and determined that we did need to change the speed limit, which we’re in the process of doing now”. Shortly thereafter, the speed limit on the strip of NB Chrysler Service Drive where David Cherry received his ticket, was upgraded from 25 MPH to 40 MPH, while the SB Chrysler Service Drive running directly parallel was upgraded from 25 MPH to 35 MPH.

To Pay the Price for the Youth of Michigan: Education Now or Incarceration Later?

           A report entitled, “Cost Savings of School Readiness Per Additional At-Risk Child in Detroit Michigan” was released today to an audience of municipal officials, teachers, parents, and concerned citizens by the faculty members of the authoring foundation: the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. The focus of the report is on the financial improvements made possible by preemptive fiscal and social support of our early youth in the Michigan educational system.

A statistic was presented that stated for every additional child who arrives in early education already prepared to learn saves upwards of $50,000 for taxpayers in Michigan, this figure is nearly doubled for children from Detroit.

The hope is that this and other objective data found in the report (which may be viewed in full at http://www.mmfisher.org/wilder_foundation.html) can be used as legal leverage in the future when it comes to legislative decisions relating to public investment in Michigan’s early education system.

The report also proposes that greater investment in education can effect and effectively cut costs in the varied government facets of: crime reduction, health care and other state/social programs that are often correlated with higher expenditures for impoverished populations. By extrapolating their findings, the foundation approximates an upwards of $50 million in savings for Michigan taxpayers with every 1% increase in early educational preparation for the estimated 150,000 kindergarteners in Michigan.

Already, progress has been made-two years ago Michigan officially became a “no-wait state” (a state that has expedited public funding for a certain cause, allowing quicker enactment of a policy) in regards to the social provision of preschool for at-risk children aged 4 and below. Plans for 2016 include: expanding the previous program and implementing new programs to further develop educational aptitude for children up to the third grade.

Of the many in attendance was Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino, who put his passion for the issue with the educational system bluntly: “The choice is simple: Pay for quality early education and care for Michigan’s kids now, or pay far more for the costs of crime in Michigan in the decades to come. We can continue with the status quo, which is leading too many people to failure in school, over dependence on welfare, involvement in crime, and incarceration – at a huge cost to Michigan taxpayers. Or, we can take a different course – leading more kids to success in school, high school graduation, and savings to taxpayers for years to come.”

Garbarino continued by saying, “These crucial outcomes you’ve heard about today – higher graduation rates, lower crime and incarceration rates, and lower costs to taxpayers – are why Michigan policymakers need to do everything possible to strengthen and expand access to high-quality early education and care programs in Detroit and Michigan. To make it happen we have to recognize that we are standing in the fork of a road, with an important choice ahead of us.”

Garbarino is one member of a group of public authority figures involved in the research of the study. Other members include: Wayne County Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie, Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko, and Commander Todd Bettison of the Detroit Police Department. The non-profit and anti-crime group entitled, “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids in Michigan” boasts a far-reaching comprisal of over 5000 law-enforcement officials, from fellow chiefs of police, to sheriffs, to DAs, prosecutors and perhaps most importantly- actual victims of crime.

Yet, a very common thread runs through the breadth of the organization: the ideal that education is the most powerful tool we have for the reform of impoverished communities predisposed to criminal activity.

Of the few statistics and measures mentioned in this brief article, there are countless more available in the full document (linked above in the second paragraph) it is also necessary to make clear the origin of these statistics. All research conducted herein, was conducted using official data obtained by the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan Department of Education, and National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, among other certified and veritable sources. The Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation funded the “Cost Savings of School Readiness Per Additional At-Risk Child in Detroit and Michigan” study, was assisted by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation and endorsed by over 25 groups and organizations-a conclusive list of sponsors can be found at http://www.mmfisher.org/all_grant_partners.html

Cause of Fatal Hamtramck Fire Still Unknown

Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino, fellow officers, and the Hamtramck Fire Department are still investigating the origin of a fire that started on the morning of February 17th on Yemens St. and resulted in four fatalities. With funeral arrangements looming in the coming days still the only known information is that the fire began somewhere towards the rear of the property, and that the home was not equipped with a fire/smoke detector. The deceased are named as follows: James Parker, wife Freddye Parker, and their children, James Jr., (11 years old) and Jarred (7 years old). Paul Wilk, the Hamtramck Fire Chief has not been available for comment. Both James Parker and his wife Freddye were integrated with many aspects of the Hamtramck community, including coaching football and cheerleading for teams associated with the Detroit Police Athletic League.

Four Detroit Homes Connected to Alleged Auto-Insurance Fraud and Identity Theft Ring Busted

Law enforcement agencies from several Metro Detroit suburbs connected through the Action Auto Theft Task Force have recently made a breakthrough in their investigation regarding the excessive amount of fraudulent auto-insurance policies circulating the Greater Detroit Area. Many of these false policies are believed to originate from four distinct Detroit homes, all of which were raided on November 25th and 26th and have resulted in the arrests of three women whom authorities believe to be key-factors in the fraudulent operation. Also discovered among st the seized properties were pieces of evidence indicative of a fraudulent check writing and identity theft operation.

Even with these recent advancements, odds are that the problem of fraudulent documentation will continue; this problem isn’t a new one according to Hamtramck Police Chief Max Garbarino: “Over the last couple of years we’ve been inundated with fraudulent policies.” Some estimates even place the industry of counterfeit insurance manufacturing and distributing at over $1 million in revenue. Garbarino supposes that the increasing frequency of fake policies is in part due to the fact that they are sold at discount prices often less than $100-a lucratively economical yet feloniously illegal undercut from the increasing insurance fees car owners in Metro Detroit have grown accustom to paying. It may also be in part due to the advent of digital/printable documentation which can easily be altered.

Garbarino states that the investigation is ongoing, and that even though the arrests of several major operatives were made in Detroit; that despite the geography, “they affect us”; us in Highland Park; us in Gross Pointe Park; us in Hamtramck, and anywhere close enough to be exposed to and enticed by inexpensive but fraudulent auto-insurance policies.

Hamtramck Receives Both New Police and Fire Chief in Swearing-In Ceremony

In a precedent setting commencement on Friday in the 31st District Courtroom at Hamtramck City Hall, both acting Chief of Police Max Garbarino and acting Chief of Fire Paul Wilk were officially sworn in as Hamtramck’s new serving police chief and serving fire chief.

This is the first concurrent swearing in of two chiefs of public service in the history of Hamtramck and has garnered much attention from friends, family, municipal officals, and even U.S. Representative John Conyers.


The official oaths were administered by Judge Paul Paruk who entreated the two acting chiefs Max Garbarino and Paul Wilk to consummate their oath to Hamtramck as sworn and serving officials. Garbarino and Wilk gracefully agreed to uphold the municipal responsibilities appointed to them. Garbarino received former chief Marek Kalinowski’s badge and the audience erupted into celebration as the swearing in was made official.


The commencement was an inspiring boost of morale, in an otherwise particularly delicate time for law-enforcement and the city of Hamtramck-in part due to several heinous crimes committed in the preceding weeks.


Two young women, Ashley Conaway and Abreeya Brown were kidnapped on February 28th from a house on Andrus St. and found dead on the west side of Detroit on March 25th, five men were charged with their kidnapping and murders.


Police Chief Max Garbarino responded to a carjacking turned sexual assault on March 2nd. Later arrested, 25 year old Tonio Dace was charged with sexual assault, kidnapping, and carjacking for his abduction and abuse of three women attending a music festival in Hamtramck.


It was the expedited resolutions of these atrocious acts, undoubtedly due in part to the newly appointed officials that reinvigorated the spirit and city of Hamtramck.


Garbarino went on to expand his vision for economic reparation in the city consulting his experience in the study of law, (which he will substantiate with the receipt of a law degree in the coming weeks). One of his directives was to place greater importance and encouragement on the neighborhood watch groups which would assist police patrols and allow for more specific and necessary allocation of public resources.


Justice Served – Grand Theft Auto Gone Awry in Hamtramck

What appeared to be a typical joyride around Hamtramck’s Polish Festival (a common occurrence in times of celebration) turned quickly into a case of alleged grand theft auto. The vehicle in question was a white C4 Corvette; when several onlookers reported seeing the suspicious sports car erratically weaving through traffic, and screeching its wheels when stopped; the police were informed of the description of the vehicle and its location. The two male suspects inside the white Corvette were flagged to pull over a short distance from the festival grounds, and instead attempted to evade law enforcement. The sudden elusive maneuvers and following plate identification confirmed that the vehicle was in fact stolen. The chase ended abruptly when the Corvette collided violently with a lane of parked vehicles. Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino said, fortunately, no bystanders were physically effected by the force of the impact. However, the incident left both the driver and passenger in need of medical care. “The passenger was in pretty serious condition,” said Police Chief Garbarino. He continued, “The driver actually got out and attempted to run but [an] officer quickly pursued him. Ultimately the driver and the passenger were transported to the hospital.”

City of Hamtramck Defends Islamic Right to Broadcast Prayer

When the Ideal Islamic Center moved into its current Hamtramck location on Holbrook Avenue, a short distance from the Hamtramck Senior Plaza; to say the least, heads turned and ears perked up.

It is a condition of the Muslim faith that the Islamic prayer, or Salah, is conducted five times every day. Typically, only mosques are permitted to recite prayer with the aid of amplification; however, Hamtramck municipal workers granted the Ideal Islamic Center (an Islamic youth activity center) the same right.

Carol Marsh, a resident of the Hamtramck Senior Plaza says, “When it first opened up [and] was gonna be an activity center for the Arabic youth, [it was] no problem with me.”

It wasn’t until earlier this year that Marsh felt disturbed by the volume and particular delivery of the prayer, “…now they got a youngster doing the call to prayer a couple times a day,” she says, “And he starts with ‘Hellooo! Wake up! And it’s in the afternoon when a lot of the senior citizens are taking their naps.” Understandably, the city of Hamtramck has placed restrictions on the volume of Salah broadcasts. Yet to the dissatisfaction of Carol Marsh and her fellow senior citizens, an independent study has confirmed that the volume of the prayer is in fact consistent with city-mandated decibel restrictions.

The initial ruling on Hamtramck’s noise statute occurred in 2004, with a special provision approved by voters for the allowance of amplified Salah. The essence of the decibel dispute comes down to the disjointed chain of command that receives and resolves complaints regarding the call to prayer.

In every other incident involving a noise complaint, a call is made to the police who are dispatched to the reported location and are responsible for resolving the conflict. Instead, in the case of Salah broadcasting, complaints and incident reports are directed to Hamtramck’s city clerk, and consequently funneled to Hamtrack’s city council. This misconnection and miscommunication lends an unnecessary political spotlight to Hamtramck’s Islamic population and confounds authorities as to the appropriate method of legal enforcement.

Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino and his department weigh in on the dilemma: “We don’t really have a horse in this race; we’re actually not in the process for complaints. We’re just trying to do our best to mediate it…I prefer to handle it personally and what I’ve been trying to do is just smooth it over the best I can.”

Though mediation can be difficult especially when two radically different cultures are sharing spaces in close proximity, Carol Marsh is quoted as saying, “…all of a sudden one Friday we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from but the loudness. We were looking up like we were looking for flying saucers.”

Garbarino continues by claiming that complaints have mounted proportionately with the increase of amplification, “There wasn’t really a whole lot of mosques of Islamic centers actually broadcasting. But as time progressed and the city acquired more mosques and Islamic centers, the call to prayer spread.” This increased frequency, and allegedly increased volume has certainly caused some disturbance among certain citizens; yet, Garbarino says he and the rest of his department have been specially prepared to resolve these types of conflicts: “…we’ve kind of been raised on it. As long as I’ve been here the community has been diverse. For myself and all of my officers…our careers have grown in this community so it’s just second nature to us.”

Hamtramck Chief of Police to Forge Deeper Connection Between Police and Underrepresented Populations

Max Garbarino of Hamtramck is the first (and youngest) police chief in the history of the city to engage in a dialogue with the city’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. Bill Meyer, a member of the Hamtramck NAACP states that he cannot recall any preceding police chief taking such an initiative and commends Garbarino for his efforts.


The meeting occurred on the south end of the city in the People’s Community Services facility on Saturday afternoon. Upwards of 30 people attended the meeting including notable appearances by Michigan Congressman Hansen Clarke, and Juanita Sephers, Hamtramck NAACP President.


Juanita Sephers commenced the dialogue by voicing a number of objections to the current state of affairs for minorities in Hamtramck and the surrounding area. Her initial criticism was the marginalization that African-Americans have faced when seeking employment in the municipal sector; in other words, Sephers felt that for so long to be an African-American and work for the city, “You had to know someone” she stated. In support of her claim, there is currently only one African-American working in city hall. She continued to express that this marginalization of African-Americans pervades the public sector, from the police station, to the fire department as well as the educational system. Sephers noted that that there is not a single black firefighter, and that qualified blacks pursuing careers in education are intentionally disregarded as white educators and administrators only consider black applicants after they have already “hired all their [white] friends”.


Garbarino attributes these systemic injustices to “a lack of communication”, which he suggests may be remedied by presenting these serious issues to the largely unaware public. Garbarino agreed that there is currently a lack of diversity in his department, a predicament that as newly appointed chief of police he is both empowered and determined to change.


Congressman Hansen Clarke was next to weigh in on the issue of minorities being marginalized and underrepresented in the public scope. Born to an African-American mother and a Bangladeshi father, Clarke is no stranger to the mistreatment of minorities and multi-ethnic citizens. The focus of Clarke’s criticism was upon the United States’ overwhelming and unjustified tendency to profile people of color, specifically African-Americans. He asserted that this racial mistreatment is most evident in the excessive jailing of young blacks convicted of drug offenses while young whites convicted of comparable offenses are given much more lenient treatment; regardless, Clarke is convinced that we as a country are facing a “mass incarceration of our young people”.


Raphael Thurin, another attendant of the conference and a member of the Hamtramck Community Initiative stressed the importance and effectiveness of neighborhood watch groups, in which residents remain on the lookout for suspicious activity in their areas and correspond with law enforcement. Garbarino fully supported Thurin’s comments and claimed, “That helps us to patrol…and keep the city safer”.


Garbarino went on to express that he does not want himself or his officers to feel that they are operating apart from the community and population they are designated to protect and serve. Though this initial and precedent setting meeting is as Titus Walker (an African-American Hamtramck School Board Member) puts it, “a good start”, there is much more work to do, and much more progress to be made towards making the city of Hamtramck a deeply connected and harmonious union of the governed and the government.

Attempted Armed Robbery of Hamtramck Pawn Shop Leaves One Dead, and Two Arrested

“It’s pretty stupid for anyone to try and rob someone in Hamtramck… our store owners are armed, and, not to mention, you know, we’re there in 30 seconds.”, says Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino responding to an alleged armed robbery of the Detroit Pawn Shop off Joseph Campeau Avenue on Thursday, August 1st.

When three men with guns drawn entered the Detroit Pawn Shop at approximately 2:30 p.m. the on-duty security guard engaged in gunfire shooting and killing one of the robbers on the spot. Max Garbarino is confident that the actions of the pawn shop security guard will clearly be justified as self-defense.

The situation was completely neutralized moments later when Hamtramck police responded to the incident, “I think our officers were there in under 30 seconds on this particular occasion,” says Garbarino.

It is expected that the surviving accomplices will receive criminal charges though their names have not yet been published.