Detroit police roll out summer crowd control plan, will crack down on noise, drag racing

Detroit police car
Photo credit Vickie Thomas / WWJ, FILE

DETROIT (WWJ) -- As summer gets into full swing, Detroit police are rolling out a new, five-point plan for stepping up crowd control measures across the city.

The plan consists of a five-phase effort, including increasing Detroit police patrol presence, especially on weekends; strict enforcement of the city’s noise ordinance; continued enforcement of drifting and drag racing across the city; parking lot code enforcement to prevent pop-up parties; and reaching out for community partnership support.

The announcement of cracking down on crowd control comes nearly a week after a brawl broke out in Greektown last weekend, resulting in multiple arrests, injuries and confiscated weapons.

That is perhaps the most publicized incident, but authorities say they’ve also seen a rise in unrest in places like the riverfront, city parks and neighborhoods across the city, some of which may be pandemic-related.

“We’ve all been shuttered in place, we’re coming out of COVID, we’re re-emerging. We understand, but we have to do so responsibly,” Detroit Police Chief James White said at a press conference Thursday morning. “We can’t have this party atmosphere breaking out in front of homes, in neighborhoods, neighborhood parks at 2, 3, 4 o’clock in the morning, loud music, fights, people bringing guns to what should be peaceful events.”

The department’s plan includes authorized extra overtime hours for officers, especially on weekends, to ensure they have more officers to deal with increased presence and enforcement, all without sacrificing quality in other areas.

“When I brought this plan to our mayor, the mayor gave me 4,000 hours of overtime every weekend for the summer and 2,000 hours for drag racing, specifically,” Detroit Police Chief James White said at a press conference Thursday morning. “That allows me to do this work and not interfere with 911 calls for service and patrolling our community.”

White, in office as interim chief for just over a week, says the extra overtime patrol efforts will first be deployed in areas like Greektown, Riverfront, Atwater, and Henderson parks, where they've seen issues, but it can be refocused to different parts of the city throughout the summer as needed.

White says the department is going to get stingy on combating drag racing. In order to provide a bit more clout to their enforcement of drifting and drag racing, DPD will step up its forfeiture proceedings and confiscate vehicles involved.

Officers will also be less tolerant on noise violations, trying to curtail large parties that may get out of hand.

“We’re lowering the party atmosphere, but we have to do so responsibly,” White said. “These are not just words. We’re taking this seriously.”

Several community groups, including Detroit 300, plan to organize a Friday march that will take people down streets in five different areas across the city, in hopes of promoting a safe summer.