A few words on Hamtramck’s police department

Max Garbarino, the city’s Director of Community Safety and Services, discusses the training Hamtramck police officers go through.


By Charles Sercombe
The topic of police department reform has swept the nation. We asked Max Garbarino, the city’s Director of Community Safety and Services, to address the issue.

With there now being a national discussion on police reform, how will this affect Hamtramck?

Garbarino: The national discussion has affected everyone, including our small diverse community. Any show of unnecessary excessive force or discrimination in the performance of law enforcement services undermines the confidence residents have in everything we do.
Hamtramck was one of the first communities in the state to pass an anti-profiling ordinance. The city undertook this measure to ensure that each and every resident of Hamtramck, the most diverse city in the state, feels welcome in our city.
It is our obligation to enforce the law without regard to an individual’s race, color, religion, gender, national origin, gender identity or membership in any other protected class.
It is very unfortunate that it takes a tragic event to spark conversations on much needed reforms, but here in Hamtramck, we are glad those conversations are happening, and we hope they continue to do so. We believe community policing needs to continue to evolve, in order to better protect and serve our city.
Policing as a whole has been changing for the better for a long time, and will continue to do so. It may be hard to see the positive change when tragic events are so widely publicized across news and social media, but we have been making strides forward here in Hamtramck. However we, as a nation, still have a long way to go!

Will you be reviewing what kind of training officers have received, or may still need to learn about?

Garbarino: Our police department trains officers regularly. We are continually evaluating the training offered, in order to best meet the needs of our community and our officers.
Police officers can never have enough training. That includes reviewing current practices and new training to adjust to the ever-changing situations that arise in communities.
Our department provides continual training, and also evaluates our needs as things arise. We do our best to anticipate what may be needed, however sometimes training is a reaction to something new that occurs.

Does our force offer “diversity” training?

Garbarino: Our community is the most diverse city in the region and entire State of Michigan. For years, the Hamtramck Police Department has trained its officers regarding diversity.
We will continue to do so.
Keeping officers trained ensures that our officers understand this community, act professionally, and are well-equipped to provide excellent service to our community.

Is there training on “de-escalation” when dealing with unruly suspects or situation that might erupt?

Garbarino: Officers are training continuously on a variety of topics, including the appropriate use of force, and alternatives to using force.
Classes are provided on de-escalation, and the appropriate techniques used to prevent use of force.
The city knows the value of providing training and seeks out training opportunities for our officers as they become available. Prior to recent events, we improved our own training schedule.
We always look for appropriate new or better training, and will provide it to all of our officers when it becomes available.

Do our officers practice chokeholds to suppress aggressive or uncooperative suspects?

Garbarino: It has long been taught that such a technique is not to be used unless it’s a life and death struggle and deadly force is warranted.
Officers are trained to use alternative techniques and appropriate use of force to subdue aggressive subjects whenever possible. In all cases, officers are only to use the amount of force necessary.

Do you think the so-called “militarization” of police departments has led to assaultive behavior by some officers?

Garbarino: Specialized gear should only be used when appropriate to do so.
Prior to an officer being hired, police departments conduct background checks, psychological exams, and extensive interviews, and use that information to only hire personnel who are right for the position.
We know that every profession may have a bad actor, but in Hamtramck we truly work diligently to hire the right people that can best serve our community.
Hamtramck provides equipment that will keep police officers safe while doing an extremely dangerous job.
When police departments have the right police officers, and use the correct protective equipment, the department can provide excellent service to their community.
A good police officer is one who is right for the job, provided with proper training and education, wearing appropriate protective equipment, and day-to-day doing their job protecting and serving their community.

Any other comment you would like to add?

Garbarino: The City of Hamtramck and its Hamtramck Police Department continue to strive to provide the best service it can to our community.
We welcome positive feedback, good ideas, and suggestions on how we can serve the community better.
We are always looking for volunteers for the Hamtramck Community Patrol, participation in our local block clubs, people to help with the Hamtramck Community Initiative (HCI), people for the Chief’s Advisory Board, and of course new full-time and reserve officers.
Posted June 19, 2020

21 Responses to A few words on Hamtramck’s police department

  1. Montashir Algahim

    June 19, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    You took my friends mini bike and he didn’t even get a warning he didn’t even know it was illegal you guys are the worse!

  2. Malik Ali

    June 20, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Anti-profiling? Hamtramck police department is one of the most racist departments in Michigan. I’ve been a resident for 13 years and I’ve constantly been a victim of police harassment and profiling. This entire review is blasphemy coming from a white man who has never been a victim of profiling in his life. If you want to help do a real investigation into the police department and videos and give the residents of the city, the truth.

  3. Darnell

    June 20, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Hamtramck Police is more racist then anyone…. it’s sad when no 1, even family wants to come visit you cause of Hamtramck Police….

  4. Nasr Hussain

    June 20, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    While driving on the service drive next to the I-75, I was stopped by a Hamtramck officer and issued a ticket for going 34 mph in a 25 mph zone. Which was very odd, considering that I use the street daily and see people stopped there frequently.

    Luckily I obtained the stop video from the police dept. which shows that this was not true & hopefully I will have this issue resolved in court.

    I have heard many such complaints: Tickets issued unjustly, but this was the first time it happened to me personally.

    The problem is that many residents are immigrants with limited English skills and it’s very hard for them to fight these frivolous tickets and end up paying for violations they did not really commit.

    A Police Review Board composed of people in the community speaking the residents languages is a must solution to put a stop to these infractions.

    Should we wait the the pot boils over, then start talking about solutions like what happened recently.

    Hopefully the mayor and council members rescind their opposition to such a board and establish one to resolve these problems and prevent anger from bottling up inside the residents.

    City should think actively not re-actively.

  5. Vencent Valentine

    June 20, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Hamtramck has always been known for racial profiling and this guy used to be one of the cops that harassed the black community if this neighborhood is so diverse why are most black people scared to come to this neighborhood I’ve been a resident for twenty years and I still feel like I’m treated differently because the color of my skin things will never change until the tables are turned and you feel what we feel

  6. Good citizen

    June 21, 2020 at 1:21 am

    I been arrested and harassed by at least 3 of your officer’s for exercising my freedom of speech for calling them stupid wich is not against the law i think they need more training on our constitutional rights which they took a oath to defend not there feelings or there ego because they feel disrespected

  7. Marcus Roberson

    June 21, 2020 at 8:22 am

    As a new resident to the state and the city of Hamtramic,. In one 8 day period I was followed and stopped no reason, when I asked why, I was literally told we don’t need a reason to stop U, 2 days latter I was stopped again, as I left the parking lot of Hamtramic,housing commission, I approached the conner stop sign, as the Hamtramic P.D,approached from my left, they had the right of way as no stop sign was facing them, though they had the right of way, they insisted I go and I did, they trailed me almost to Detroit,before they threw on the lights, the pulled me over searched me my truck, then when asked why, he told me I failed to put on my seat beat. If U, see the police in the area and they stay in this area, would U not put on Your seat belt?? I usually put on mine anyway. Finally 3 days after the second incident I was leaving for work and I was extra careful as most Black men in the city of Hamtramic, understand in a way that other ethnic groups have little knowledge of. Anyway. I was followed and eventually stopped for having no insurance,they took the license plates also ticketed me,I would say nothing, or think to much about it,except on each of these occasions it was the same officer, I lost my job with the right to drive my vehicle. Does that sound like profiling to You???

  8. Hamtramckan

    June 21, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Did the mayor and council really come out and say they don’t want a police review board? That’s outrageous!

  9. Nasr Hussain

    June 21, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    @Marcus Roberson

    It’s not a black issue only. a few years ago same thing happened to my brother. He was stopped and given a ticket for not wearing a seat-belt even though he was wearing it.
    HPD needs immediate revamping, hopefully Max will take the right decision and do whatever is necessary to improve its relationship with the community.
    I know they are underpaid but that is not an excuse for mistreating the residents.

  10. Nasr Hussain

    June 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm


    The mayor and old councilmembers some years back. It was proposed by Bill Meyer but they turned a deaf ear to his proposal.

  11. Hamtragic

    June 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    What does this guy even do….

  12. Roadman

    June 22, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Several issues:

    (1) what has happened with the investigation of the auto accident involving a police cruiser and a black motorist who was forced to his knees at gunpoint by Maggie Srodek?

    (2) what is the status of the City of Hamtramck producing a redacted police report in response to a FOIA appeal in that accident?

    (3) why do we have speed traps in that service drive area when the court has already held that the speed limit was not validly established?

    (4) what is the status of the federal civil rights indictment of Ryan McInerney, the former Hamtramck police officer who allegedly assaulted a Hamtramck motorist and a passenger?

  13. Resident

    June 22, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Where are the speed traps?

    Speed limit is 40 on NB Chrysler service drive south of Caniff. Posted sign alerts drivers. Speed limit is 35 on SB Chrysler service drive south of Caniff. Speed limit is 35 on Conant South of Hallbrook. Don’t know about Hamtramck drive but everywhere else it is 25.

    Question again: where are the speed traps?

    Who doesn’t want to fall on speed traps

  14. Roadman

    June 22, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    @Nasr Hussain:

    “I know they(HPD) are underpaid….”

    Are you serious? Take a gander at http://www.govsalaries.com/salaries/MI/city-of-hamtramck

    This is what some of Hamtramck’s finest earned in 2018:

    Michael Fedenis (patrolman) $96,853;
    Dennis Janowicz (drug agent)$91,902;
    Michael Stout (patrolman) $90,002;
    Ann Moise (chief) $91,750;
    Luigi Gjokaj $85,505;
    Ann Mervyn $84,925;
    Andrew Mileski (lieutenant) $88,068;

    By comparison this is what some well-known city officials earned in 2018:

    Rodney Johnson(DPS Director)$85,000;
    August Gitschlag(City Clerk)$60,000.

    Plus HPD members are protected by union representation, arbitration rights, and other benefits of a collective bargaining agreement which makes it very, very hard to mete out disciplinary action to problem officers. This protection breeds arrogance and insolence by some officers toward the public.

  15. Dennis Nowak

    June 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    The City of Hamtramck needs a civilan police oversight board.

  16. Dennis Nowak

    June 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    The City of Hamtramck could use a civilan police oversight board.

  17. Passerby

    July 3, 2020 at 11:05 am

    I received a ticket claiming was going 87 on the highway when I was going 80 AND going with the flow of traffic. The cop wasn’t even in the car when I drove past but when I drove past him and he literally RACED to me and turned on his lights. I honestly feel racially profiled.

  18. Mr Ron Glenn

    August 14, 2020 at 3:09 am

    I See No Diversity In Hamtramck Hiring Of Minority Police Its Very Clear That Hamtramck Practice Systemic Racism There Need To Be Reform And BLM Matter Should Be Protesting To Bring Attention Foolisness That’s Been Going On Fir Years In This City Enough Is Enough

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