FRIDAY NEWS HIT - The Ypsilanti Police Department is looking for a new chief after a sudden resignation.
"It’s hard," said Steve Wilcoxen.
That was the reaction from the Ypsilanti councilman to the resignation of Police Chief Tony DeGiusti, who reportedly felt it was time to move on as policing gets harder. "There’s issues with morale. There’s issues with staffing," Wilcoxen said. "Lots of people are working a lot of overtime. It’s hard to keep people staffed."
The department went on its Facebook page to say "we’re hiring" but filling the vacancies is tough.
"There were three openings that hadn’t been filled and the report was that there were five people that were looking to go elsewhere," the councilman said.
And crime is on the rise. A report posted Thursday by Ypsilanti police shows 39 calls for things like breaking and entering reports, larceny and other issues.
"Ypsilanti is an interesting place. It’s got a lot of issues of a big city in a small town," Wilcoxen said.
Dan Gilmartin said the same problems are showing up in communities across Michigan - and the country for that matter. Gilmartin is the CEO of the Michigan Municipal League.
It advocates for funding and support on behalf of more than 530 Michigan cities, villages and towns.
Former Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DeGiusti
"I was in a national meeting a couple weeks ago and it was one of the top topics we talked about and it's really kind of becoming an arms race amongst communities," he said. "If you've got money, you spend it, and if you don’t, you’re in trouble."
He says for years state lawmakers have cut funding that goes to local governments, with about half of that money supporting public safety.
In Melvindale Wednesday night members of the police department made a plea to the city council for help with staffing issues, equipment and pay scale. The department is the lowest paid Downriver and second-lowest in Wayne County.
Gilmartin says the public safety fix will also have to come in large part from the state.
"Certainly, the state policy is maybe the most important thing we face," Gilmartin said. "Everyone is talking about money coming out of Washington in the last year, year and a half or so, which has been amazing and a shot in the arm. But it’s short-term money. It’s money that’s got to be spent right away. It’s not the kind of thing you’re able to build long-term systems over."
So where does that leave Ypsilanti? We asked the council member.
FOX 2: "Do you worry about that impacting public safety?"
"No I’ve talked with the city manager, and we’ve got reciprocity agreements with other law enforcement agencies and we need to explore that," Wilcoxen said. "But we also need to keep the people that are here…here and move forward with as many people as we can."
Suspect vehicle sought in toddler's shooting
Detroit police are asking the public to look out for a gray GMC Acadia that a gunman was in when he shot up an SUV, striking two people including a female toddler. Both victims survived the assault, but the suspect shooter remains at large.
The 2-year-old was hit in the side, while a 55-year-old man who was working on his car nearby was also struck. Both were transported to a local hospital where they were released after receiving treatment.
Suspect GMC Acadia involved in a double non-fatal shooting in Detroit. Photo via Detroit police.
The incident happened on Aug. 2 at around 9 a.m. in Southwest Detroit on Witt Street. Detroit police say the gunman's intended target was likely someone sitting in the Chevy Tahoe. Police called the action reckless and a disregard for human life.
Police have since released two images of the suspect vehicle and are asking the public to call the department's 4th precinct if they have any information. They can be reached at 313-596-5440 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-Speak Up.
Rare tri-colored puppy taken by Amazon driver
A home video caught the moments an Amazon delivery driver came upon a puppy named Mauria that had gotten through the fence of a yard, scooping her up and driving off. The rare tri-colored mini American bully was a gift for a man's son. Now, it's been taken.
"It’s been really quiet," said Maurice Gunn. "Even Sky hasn’t been the same. My other dog, that’s my frenchie." The dog has been missing for three days. According to footage from the Center Line residence, the Amazon driver spotted the puppy from across the street, before he "opened his door that’s when they disappeared off camera for a minute then you see them come back around the vehicle with the dog."
The driver stands there for a few seconds with Mauria in his arms, then walks out of the frame to the loading side of the delivery van – and drives off. "He never made an attempt to any of these homes," Maurice said. "I checked with all the neighbors and no one knows what’s going on. The police department is 2 blocks down."
Center Line police tell FOX 2 they’re investigating. After checking with neighbors, animal shelters, and police, there's been no sign of her, Maurice is convinced, the driver stole her. "If someone can go on your app order it and get it the next day," he said. "I’m three days in and I don’t have my dog."
Tudor Dixon running mate announcement due Friday
The Republican candidate for governor has a big decision to make Friday - who will be her running mate for the upcoming election in November. Tudor Dixon has until 5 p.m. Friday to announce who her Lt. Governor would be on the GOP ticket. A lot of names have been floated in recent reports.
There are some former politicians like U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop and former state-House Speaker Jase Bolger, according to the Detroit Free Press. An ex-NBA player-turned businessman Willie Burton also was rumored to be considered. And then there's former gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley, one of the most conservative candidates from the primary.
As a consultant for Republican politicians noted on Twitter, a lieutenant governor "can't deliver a win, but they can deliver a loss." That means Dixon will need to consider someone that can broaden her statewide support without angering more conservative members of the party.
But that might be an issue as another figure who works in Republican politics noted online, saying Kelley would be a popular candidate at the party's nominating convention next week. He's currently charged over his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection - which may play well with the Republican base, but not with more moderate voters.
Abortion ruling drops Friday
A key ruling on abortion in Michigan will drop Friday when an Oakland County judge announces whether he'll keep an injunction in place that has prevented the state's 1931-era ban on the procedure to go into effect.
The law was moot until the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. It's since become the prevailing law for Michigan, but has been blocked by lower court rulings who granted temporary restraining orders on the rule.
Over the past two days, attorneys argued in Oakland County court about what the state law should be for abortion. The governor sued county prosecutors who hoped to enforce the ban.
Abortion is also on the ballot this midterm election season, where voters will decide whether to legalize the procedure and enshrine it in the constitution.
Live on FOX 2
It's going to be the last full good weather day for a few days as rain is expected to move in over the weekend. That won't be an issue in the morning, but by Saturday afternoon, plan on wet conditions.
What else we're watching
- An ambulance that collided with a passenger car Thursday evening in Detroit left the emergency vehicle on its side. The crash happened on McNichols near Greenfield. It's unclear if there were any injuries.
- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lost a court ruling Thursday that ordered her case over the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline be moved to federal court. The governor who is seeking to shutdown an oil pipeline worrying environmental advocates over fears it could leak oil into the Great Lakes.
- There's another story developing around abortion in Michigan this week after an anti-abortion group asked to have a petition for the 2022 ballot thrown out over 60 typos on the filing. The complaint has to do with lines that have no spacing.
- Worried about parking for the Woodward Dream Cruise? FOX 2 has built out a helpful guide for anyone looking to for space ahead of time.
- Seven communities will be without clean running water for the next few weeks as the Great Lakes Water Authority repairs a water main break. Here is a breakdown of where to find water distribution sites for affected communities.
Japan encourages young people to drink more alcohol
Tax revenues from alcohol sales are lagging in Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the restaurant and nightlife industry, so the country is launching a new contest to try to boost consumption among young people dubbed, "Sake Viva!"
"The purpose of this announcement is to revitalize the industry," Japan's National Tax Agency said in announcing the plan, according to a translation.
Applicants between the ages of 20 and 39 are encouraged to submit business plans to boost alcohol sales to young people ahead of a contest in November.