The time is ripe for a discussion on policing

There has been a lot of talk nationally about reforming or “defunding” police departments.
There also has been criticism that some officers have acted with brutality toward minorities. Hamtramck police have also been criticized in the past of profiling minorities and treating them unfairly.
Last week we invited Max Garbarino, the city’s Director of Community Safety and Services, to talk about Hamtramck’s own police policies and training.
The reader response on our website about Garbarino’s comments was also critical.
It’s clear that it is indeed time for a discussion in this community about policing.
It has also been suggested in the past that the city should establish a citizens’ oversight committee for the police department. This seems like a reasonable concept to consider.
No matter what course of action we take, we need to have further discussions.
And also remember that Garbarino’s role is to be a liaison between the police department and the community. If you need to contact him, you can do so via email at:
Posted June 26, 2020

10 Responses to The time is ripe for a discussion on policing

  1. Dennis Nowak

    June 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    A civilian police oversight board for the City of Hamtramck is a step in the right direction.

  2. Roadman

    June 30, 2020 at 12:02 am

    An independent citizens’ police commission would provide certain things needed in the City of Hamtramck:

    (A) a public body that could oversee hiring, retention and recruitment policies for police personnel locally;

    (B) a group that can take citizen complaints and direct investigations as well as making findings on those complaints;

    (C) reduce the current police chief position to that of a “manager” or “chief operating officer” of the P.D. with actual executive power residing in the police commission, who supervises the chief and directs his or her conduct;

    (D) create a public forum for constructive dialogue that would allow minority concerns to be voiced and considered by a civilian body;

    (E) avoids the conflict of interest situation of “police policing fellow police” and the corollary of the attitude of “there but for the grace of God goes I”;

    (F) allows independent analysis of lawsuits filed against police officers and the opportunity to make recommendations to City Council;

    (G) regulate deployment of police personnel to maximize resources and ensure that the police mission in securing the municipality is not subordinated to revenue-producing ventures – such as COBRA or the DEA task force – which in the past has led to legal liability.

    (H) promotes implementation of minority recruitment strategies.

    The consensus in the City of Hamtramck is that the Police Department is in dire need of effective leadership and a citizen-manned public body would ameliorate matters.

    I have not heard Maxwell Garbarino “pipe up” on this issue, but many citizens want to see such a board impanelled.

  3. Resident

    July 3, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    @Roadman –

    A – Are there enough qualified residents in the city who could fulfill this role? @Nasr was complaining earlier that certain entities could not hold meeting due to lack of quorum… Hiring decision should rest with City Manager who is accountable to City Council – a public body.

    B – Ours is a small city. Consider the cost…Why can’t City Manager have a process for citizens complaints? Why not have the City Manager do the investigation? Why can’t City Manager do it?

    C – No. Chief needs to report to the City Manager. Also, the City Manager should be able to hire his/her own choosing even from outside as Police Chief. Is it the case now? The city was required to promote someone within HPD as Police Chief in the past… How did the city agree to a condition like this?

    D – City council is a public body. Why is it not enough?

    E – City Manager is a civilian. There is no conflict of interest. Why would there be?

    F – City council could demand this information from City Manager and make it available for public. Why is it not sufficient?

    G – Police Chief and City Manager failed the city. They failed in their positions. They failed to properly supervise their subordinates.

    H – City Council and City Manager can do this on their own.


  4. Nasr Hussain

    July 4, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    I would have supported your arguments if there were actions taken by the city manager and council to address these issues.

    But as long as these issues continue to exist and fester, a civilian board is a necessity, even if the positions are reasonably paid.

    That the city pays out in one potential lawsuits will pay for decades of their service.

  5. Resident

    July 5, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    @Nasr- With a majority vote, the council can do anything it wishes. With a majority vote, the council can drop/change/rewrite agenda, instruct city manager to do certain things, hold additional meetings to discuss issues @Roadman hopes a new body will do… Nothing prevents the city council to do all these. Question is why don’t the council members from immigrant communities speak up for their communities and the issues affecting their communities?


  6. Nasr Hussain

    July 6, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Don’t blame the council. One of the reasons a professional manager-run city form of government was chosen was to have an intelligent person guide the council into taking the right decisions.
    Once the city manager takes these decisions and the council rejects them, then we can fully blame them.

  7. Resident

    July 6, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    @Nasr – No blame for the City Council. Rather, this resident looks at the possibilities the City Council holds at its disposal… Intelligence doesn’t necessarily make someone mind reader. Perhaps, the intelligent person is hoping for direction… This resident bets that the current council members are quite intelligent themselves and capable of making right decision rather than rubber-stamping someone else’s action.


  8. Conned-stituent

    July 7, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Most city manager led governments do not change the city charter to allow an unqualified person to become city manager. The council seems to know what to do when they want to do something.

  9. Nasr Hussain

    July 7, 2020 at 11:28 am

    By this time, she’s probably over-qualified, especially running a city like Hamtramck.

  10. Roadman

    July 15, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Hamtramck City Council passes a resolution honoring it police department and a few minutes later approves a $27,000 settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the Fieger Law Firm against two, now-retired, H.P.D. officers.

    Is there not irony in this?

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