Recent police shootings prompt calls for change in Detroit

The death of Detroit Police Officer Glenn Doss on Sunday is the latest in a stretch of horrible incidents for the Detroit Police Department.

In the past 16 months alone, more than nine officers have been shot or injured in the line of duty. That number has some calling for action. 

"There has never been a time it has been more dangerous to be a Detroit police officer than the last year and a half," Mayor Mike Duggan said. "There have been more shootings of officers than I can ever remember."

Recruitment is up within the Detroit Police Department. More officers are signing up to protect and serve -- but the situations are proving to more unpredictable and volatile.

"How do the police department, police the mentally ill? How do we live in a community when you have folks that are mentally ill that are not taking medication, or are on meds?" says Detroit Police Commissioner Willie Burton. 

In November of 2016, the death of Wayne State Police Sgt. Collin Rose allegedly came at the hands of someone with a long history of mental illness. That same suspect, Raymond Durham, is accused of shooting two other police officers. 

Suspect in Sgt. Collin Rose murder ruled not competent for trial at this time

Burton says we can look towards other cities as ways of protection.  

"Look at what Minneapolis is doing right now. They have case workers that go out in the community, with the officers, when they come in contact with the mentally ill as well as when they come in contact with domestic violence to assist the officer," he explains. 

Commissioner Burton also points to the type of severe injuries DPD officers have sustained in the last year and half.  

In April, while responding to a domestic call, officer Waldis Johnson was shot in the head. The suspect was shot and killed by police. 

"A lot of police officers have dealt with similar instances like this. The person has mental health issues; so I think mental health needs to be brought up more and more in neighbors, communities and among coworkers," says Arin Johnson, officer Waldis Johnson's son. 

Family of Detroit police officer shot in head needs financial help

While Officer Johnson is making progress in his recovery, his family says it will take a miracle for him to recover.  

Burton points out a need for more protective head gear for tactical response units to avoid injuries like this. All of which, he is aware, will cost a lot of money.

That's where he looks to Lansing for help and guidance, saying one loss of life is enough and time to act is well overdue.

"Lansing, I ask you to create laws, legislation, to protect those in the community as well as our officers. We deserve better," he says. 

He says he plans to bring up his proposals for change at the next meeting this coming week.