TRU life: working the streets of Detroit, America's toughest city

- Welcome to Detroit, America's toughest city and home to America's toughest people.

Parts of the city are on the brink of a comeback but other parts seem to be on the brink of something else. Those parts are patrolled by Detroit's toughest cops. These aren't your typical beat cops, though. They don't patrol. They target. Their mission is getting guns off the street so you can be safe.

TRU, the city's Tactical Response Unit, is a citywide precinct support team deployed based on intel from the crime unit. That means if there is trouble on the east side, that's where they'll be. But, tomorrow, they could be heading west or to the southwest side. Sometimes, it's all of the above.

FOX 2's Maurielle Lue rides along with TRU. You can see what a typical day is like for the team by watching her report in the video player above.

After a short roll call, it's time to hit the street. In almost no time, the team is making major stops.

One, in particular, leading the way is Sgt. Jackson - Sgt. Action Jackson. He was hand picked by Chief Craig to build TRU from the ground up. He's not interested in small fish; he's looking for guns.

Action is the heartbeat of this unit. He turned down a job as captain to make TRU what it is today. Working with him is the opportunity any young cop would want. To them, he's a legend.

He's been a hot shot since the '80s and is rumored to have gotten 1,000 guns off the street. Now, he's more than just The Man - he's a mentor. His stats serve as life goals to the young guys, guys like Pete. They call Pete "Streak" because he got in a foot chase his first 10 minutes in the unit and he's been running ever since.

During Maurielle's ride along, the Action and Streak came across suspicious activity at a gas station. Streak makes eye contact with a kid standing near the door, and the kid makes a run for it. True to his name, Streak is fast as lightning, and jumps out of the car after the kid. You can follow along with the chase by watching Maurielle's video report.

We don't know who he's chasing, why he ran or what danger Streak is running into, but that's the job. Streak scales a fence and eventually tackles the suspect - a 14-year-old boy.

The teen says he didn't do anything wrong and just ran because he saw the police. He was taken home to his mother, who runs a tight ship. You can meet her by watching Maurielle's video report above. Action gives the kid his personal cell phone number, reminding him he has a friend in the Detroit Police Department.

Now, it's back to the streets.

Streak says he couldn't imagine doing anything else. He's competitive, and is hoping to get 150 guns off the street in his first year. That's four more than the unit's record.

Streak says he's gotten offers from other cities, but he just can't picture himself policing in another city. In the last few months, TRU alone has lost guys to Seattle, Houston, Dearborn and Sterling Heights.

Detroit is all about respect, though, and these guys get that. That's why they're so valuable.

"A lot of those guys are leaving - or have left, rather - just for better pay, pension, retirement," says Action. "The pay is a factor, but when you love what you do you're not really concerned about the pay. Don't get me wrong, I've got kids in college; I got bills like everyone else. Would I like a raise - hell - heck yeah! But we signed up for it and we just deal with it. Hopefully there will be a nice pay raise on the horizon."

Just as Action was telling that to Maurielle, Streak made eye contact with another guy on the street corner whose body language said it all. Streak hops out of the car and runs after the suspect.

But this time is different.

There's no easy way to get to the suspect, and Streak is on his own. And right now, he's not Streak - he's Pete - and Action has to make sure Pete comes home tonight.

Minutes pass by, and Action still hasn't heard an update from Pete and he's nowhere in sight.

The radio silence is deafening, and the look on Action's face says it all. He's getting nervous. Streak is alone with an armed suspect, and now he's not responding.

By now, more guys from the unit are on the scene. They're all looking for Pete and the suspect he was chasing.

There's a different suspect in custody, but still no Pete.

Eventually, the team gets a glimpse of Pete in a backyard four houses down from where he started the chase. He has the suspect in custody - but something's off.

You can hear a dog barking and a lot of commotion. Eventually - four quick pops.

Pete and the suspect are safe, but a dog - protecting his property doing what dogs do - charged at the officer and the suspect. Police had no choice but to put him down - all because some kid with a gun picked that house as a hiding spot.

This is what it takes to get a single gun off the street.

So far this year, TRU has taken more than 300 guns off the street.

The woman whose dog was shot did file a complaint, but a judge cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. The team felt so bad about the incident they offered to buy her a new puppy. She declined. 


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