Power to be restored to DPD commissioners in December

A new turning point in the city of Detroit post-bankruptcy.

The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners is one step closer to regaining power after the City Council approved a plan that would restore authority to the commissioners.

The City Council decision to back a resolution that calls for the full restoration of the Detroit Police Commission received a round of applause Tuesday morning. When the city was under emergency management, the commission was reduced to an advisory role. This decision means they'll soon be back overseeing the department.

"This is just to make sure we have justice in the Department and we have an impartial body that can oversee any investigation and encounters between law enforcement and the community," said City Council Member Mary Sheffield.

The Michigan United Campaign celebrated the 'win for the people' and decades of oversight that will soon be restored.

"We want democracy for all," Elder Leslie said. "With the police commissioners not reinstated, not being in full power, that did not mean that we had a full democracy here in Detroit."

Under the newest charter the commission is composed of 11 members both appointed and elected. They will continue the hiring practices already underway to get 500 more police officers on the force. Once that's complete, they'll have 40-50 police personnel a month.

"A full commission is needed in any city. It's critical to have oversight and that's a role that Detroit needs,"

The mayor's office is on board  and it appears everyone is in agreement that the commissioners will be responsible for budget, hiring, retention, citizen complaints, and officer discipline. Commissioners say it's about trust in the community.

"Citizens have to come down and let us know that they're interested in what the police department is doing and if you got complaints, let us know about it and we'll take care of it," Former DPD Police Commissioner Bernice smith said.

The full powers are expected to be restored on December 10th. 

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