DETROIT (FOX 2) - A partnership to reduce Detroit crime is being praised with the City on pace for the fewest homicides in 60 years.
"This is the day we’ve been waiting for, for a long time," said Mayor Mike Duggan.
The coalition which includes city and county leaders that Detroit Police Chief James White formed in late 2021 to return the criminal justice system in Detroit and Wayne County to pre-Covid operations.
To get it done, White targeted key areas like reducing the felony gun case backlog.
"We know why violent crime soared in America. The criminal courts shut down - you could not put 12 jurors in a room," Duggan said.
Officials credit state funding and strategies like virtual dockets and hiring visiting judges to handle the mounting caseloads.
"Judge (William) McConico stepped up first when he looked at the backlog at 36th District Court on gun cases," the mayor said. "He took the docket himself and started hearing cases."
The chief judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court, Patricia Fresard, also pivoted and adjusted, allowing judges to work from home, tackling the caseload.
"The circuit court backlog went down from 4,000 felons out waiting for trial to 1,400," Duggan said.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans worked to increase pay for prosecutors so the county prosecutor's office could confront their own backlog.
"This collaboration has produced great dividends, great results," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
The decline in violent crime through November 30th of this year compared to the first 11 months of last year showed the following:
- Carjackings are down 36 percent
- Homicides are down 18 percent
- Non-fatal shootings are down 13 percent
"When you see those kinds of numbers, it tells you the program is working," White said.
The police chief pointed to state funding for helping his department officers back on the streets fighting crime.
"We secured dollars for us at the state level where we can hire police officers, a $10,000 raise, and now having a backlog of officers trying to get back to our department.
"We’re going to keep it going. The reward for good work is more work."