A failure of communication and the lessons we can learn

There is probably one thing residents can agree on in the latest flap over the police department’s stepped-up enforcement of pedestrian safety laws:
There was a huge failure to communicate by the police department and city administration.
The result of this is justified outrage about the arrest of a man on the southend that resulted in the arrest of a pedestrian for obstruction, and who was also ticketed for jaywalking.
That is not the way to spread the word to the community about pedestrian safety.
All of this started back in last October when the city received an obscure and small $8,000 grant from the state to start an education program. The money was to be spent on officers working overtime to educate the public.
At the time, hardly anyone paid attention to the grant, nor how this would be carried out.
Although the grant was awarded last year, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago when the department faced a Sept. 30 deadline to show how the funding was used.
So, the department rushed out officers to enforce pedestrian safety.
That resulted in something like 50 or warning tickets and a handful of real tickets.
There was a crucial error, though, in rolling out this program:

No one in the local ethnic communities were contacted — not even this newspaper. Nothing, zilch, nada.
Perhaps the whole grant was ill advised, as City Councilmember Carrie Beth Lasley pointed out in a special council meeting last week to address the issue.
Hamtramckans have, technically, been jaywalking for ages. All of a sudden, this police department and city administration thought that could be turned around with an $8,000 grant?
This was poor planning, and certainly poor execution.
And it is clear that having officers hand out tickets and educate the public is not an effective way to increase pedestrian safety awareness – which is a real issue in Hamtramck.
Let’s hope the city has learned that it much reach out and communicate with the public before rushing out an enforcement program.
Posted Aug. 27, 2021

2 Responses to A failure of communication and the lessons we can learn

  1. Mark M. Koroi

    August 28, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    “What we got here is a failure to communicate. Some men you just cant reach. So you get what we had here last week which is the way he wants it. Well he gets it. And I don’t like it any more than you men.”

    Strother Martin, Jr. as “the Captain” in Cool Hand Luke (1967)

    How the Strother martin quote rings true today.

  2. Mark M. Koroi

    August 29, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    One wonders how the grant was translated to action – public policy implementation.

    Was it the Chief of Police or City Manager who dreamed up this plan to dispatch HD officers to the Joseph Campau/Holbrook area and begin ticketing pedestrians crossing the street in that area away from crosswalks?
    Or was it some shift commander at the H.P.D.?

    Some law enforcement officers may argue that this is the most effective way to “educate” local pedestrians by deterring jaywalking through tickets and fine imposition – it can also deter third parties who learn about those being ticketed. Plus, of course it generates revenue for the City of Hamtramck and the court system.

    “The Captain” in Cool Hand Luke would have been proud.

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