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NEWS > 18 August 2011

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 Article sourced from

Detroit Police Department, MI
WXYZ
18 August 2011
This article appeared in the above title/site.
To view it in its entirity click this link.
Detroit Police Department, MI

Why is Detroit seeing a big spike in the number of officers running afoul of the law?


Why are so many Detroit Police officers running afoul of the law? Action News has learned Detroit is seeing a big spike in the number of officers suspended for misconduct including serious crimes. Since the beginning of the year, cases of police misconduct have been coming like clockwork, with officers accused of everything from committing a sex assault on duty, to embezzling money from the cash-strapped department.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee sat down exclusively with Action News Investigator Scott Lewis to explain how he is addressing the problem head on. Godbee said the department is not putting up with misconduct of any kind and revealed for the first time that a new task force has been formed to fight corruption throughout Metro Detroit

Godbee sent two cases to the Board of Police Commissioners today asking that officers be suspe3nded without pay.

One of the officers is Kim Mosby Colbert, who Channel 7 Investigators exposed last month. Mosby Colbert is accused of padding her overtime pay to the tune of $70,000 over the last three-and-a-half years while working as the timekeeper at the Southwest District

Also on the board’s agenda today: Officer Richard Harris is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the back seat of his patrol car, after pulling her over in a traffic stop.

The two suspensions, which were brought to the Board of Police Commissioners today, is just the tip of the problem. Action News has learned that 20 Detroit officers have been suspended for misconduct so far this year—the highest number in at least five years.

“So do you think you have more officers making bad decisions or you’re just catching more of it?” asked Lewis.

I think it may be a combination of both,” Godbee replied.
Godbee said in some cases, good honest officers are coming forward to report misconduct.

“What we’re creating is a culture to where good officers don’t want to work side-by-side with criminals. That’s the bottom line,” said the Chief.

In the coming weeks, two more officers will be coming before the Board of Police Commissioners with a request from Godbee for suspension without pay.

Officer Tamboura Jackson is suspected of fraud. He’s accused of selling fake police reports claiming identity theft to help people clean up their credit problems.

And Officer Jon Talbert is accused of running a license plate for no legitimate reason as a favor to a friend. He’s already been charged with a felony.

Both Jackson and Talbert are now suspended with pay until the board takes up their cases.

”Some of these are actual criminal incidents,” asked Lewis.
“Oh yes,” Godbee said.

“These are not officers that had just kind of a bad day,” Lewis said.

“Exactly,” replied Godbee, and for me as the leader of this department, it’s important to make the distinction between mistakes of the head and mistakes of the heart.”

Godbee also told Scott Lewis that Detroit officers are often faced with split-second, life-or-death decisions, and honest mistakes happen. He said he doesn’t want to create an environment where officers are afraid to do their jobs because they might make a mistake.

“But, when you get into theft, when you get into falsification of documents, when you get into protecting criminals and things of that nature, that’s not a mistake of the head,” said Godbee. “In those cases, we’re going to go to the end of the earth to try and catch those officers, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, and make sure they don’t have the honor of wearing a Detroit Police badge anymore.”

Godbee said there have been a number of cases where the top police brass has been surprised by a really good police officer going astray, sometimes because they get in financial trouble or have alcohol problems.

Godbee said the department recently put a risk management program in place to identify officers that might be having problems in their lives before they get into serious trouble.

“In the instances where we can catch somebody before they get on that slippery slope, I think we have a moral obligation as a leadership team to do that,” Godbee said.

Chief Godbee also told Scott Lewis there will be an announcement soon of a task force that has formed to fight public corruption across Metro Detroit. He said the task force included the FBI, IRS and many other agencies in the Detroit area. Godbee said the task force has already had some working sessions.
 
 


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