Ann Arbor Police Department discusses hate teams, budgets, and officer training with residents
ANN ARBOR, MI – Members of the Ann Arbor Police Department, including Chief Michael Cox, spoke to residents about a variety of topics including hate groups, the department’s budget, and officer training during two virtual events held last week on Community Engagement Unit of the department were hosted.
Sgt. According to Corey Mills, the department hopes to improve the services by providing more information on how they serve the community and better access for residents to get to know some of their staff.
“People want to know how we are different from other departments, especially given the tragic events in 2020 that are calling into question police practices across the country,” Mills said.
The Community Engagement Unit held a meeting on May 5th for Stations 1, 2, and 3 and on May 6th for Stations 4 and 5. Programs to promote community engagement were discussed in both sessions.
“We’re launching a program called Community Partnership and Outreach Team, or CPOT for short, that is creating community engagement like never before, with an emphasis on youth partnerships,” said Mills. We have also revamped and renewed our chaplain program … and also participated in a National Faith and Blue initiative. “
Ann Arbor Police are reviving the chaplain program
Currently, their ridesharing program, which allows residents to ride in a police car with an Ann Arbor police officer, is on hold due to COVID-19 protocols, Mills said. Once it’s safe, the program will be brought back, he said.
Residents had time to ask questions during both sessions.
Angeline Smith, who lives in Ann Arbor, expressed concern about white supremacy and the rise of white supremacy groups at the national level.
“I’ve always wondered how that affects the local level. Is that something you look at in terms of random violence against minorities?” Asked Smith.
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Federal partners like the FBI and Homeland Security are helping Ann Arbor monitor some of the dangerous groups in the area, Cox said.
“We don’t always have the manpower to follow these groups as much as they can, so we have to rely on their help with large hate groups,” said Cox. “Anything that happens locally, if reported, we will take care of it as soon as possible to try and crush whatever they are trying to generate.”
Councilor Linh Song, D-2nd Ward, briefed residents on an AAPD virtual session held last week for the Asian-American community.
“They gave a lot of comfort to people, who we know most cases of harassment go unreported because people aren’t sure what a crime is and when to call the police,” said Song. “Chief Cox and some of the people here start this conversation with members of the local Asian-American community.”
Residents of both virtual sessions expressed concerns about cuts in the AAPD budget.
“How will that affect all of these programs that you have and your ability to do more things when you don’t have the manpower?” Asked Mari Lohela, who lives in Ann Arbor.
It’s a budget cycle, which means the budget has not yet been set for next year, Cox said. At the moment they have lost a few officers as they have retired over time and they take a while to hire new people, he said.
“You shouldn’t be losing sleep at all because you are concerned about your safety,” said Cox. “We are here, we will be here, we will do the best we can with what we have at all times. And we will make sure that our resources are used appropriately to ensure that you are all safe. “
Training was addressed in both virtual meetings as many residents were interested in how the process went.
“I wanted to know more about training … I think I wanted to understand, on a deeper level, how people are trained …” said Chris Hutchings, an Ann Arbor resident. “It must be so difficult to access a developing situation, categorize it, and decide which response is appropriate.”
The AAPD undergoes annual refresher training every year, Mills said. This includes mental health training, autism training, cultural diversity training, bias police training, and de-escalation training, he said.
“We talk about these topics in daily briefings, so we take this training into account when we talk about what to do, what not to do, what to compare to policy and how to go about it in the field,” said Mills. “So we’re always in training mode, especially considering what happened. It’s really at the forefront of what we do every day.”
Further information and future events on the AAPD Community Engagement Unit can be found here.
You can also find announcements on Twitter.
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