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Young, Dpoa Reach New Understanding

Young, Dpoa Reach New Understanding image Young, Dpoa Reach New Understanding image Young, Dpoa Reach New Understanding image
Parent Issue
Day
15
Month
October
Year
1976
OCR Text

Sun City Editor Detroit Mayor Coleman Young opened what may be a newera in city-police relations last week witli a well-received address to the DPOA officers' installation banquet at the Raleigh House in Southfield. Black and white pólice officers, elected officials and community people who attended the affair are stiil talking about the jovial atmosphere that prevailed and the very cordial welcome Mayor Young received as he appeared and began to address those present. It was a far cry from the openly-expressed" antagonism with which the largely-white DPOA has greeted the mayor's almost every action since his election in November 1973. The mild barbs that carne from both sides were thrown and received in good-natured humor. Young's apology for "crossing Eight Mile Road" prompted an eruption of laughter out the audience, as did MC Dick Purtan's remarks about Mapongian Mansion. In the midst of all this good humor, Young made t known that he hasn't deviated from his principies in striking a new rapprochment with the pólice unión. "I 'm wil I ing to cooperate when you obey the law," he told the gathering. "I know that we can work together, but it takes two to tango. Vm here." He received resounding applause. The electiorr of Unity Slate candidate James VanDevender as the new DPOA chief in September most clearly marks the (continued on page 3) Young DPOAAccorá (continued from the cover) turning point in the union's relations with the city and its first black mayor. VanDevender campaigned and won on a platform calling for increased cooperation with the city administration and an end to the name-calling and backbiting which has chara cterized the union's approach to Young since his election. VanDevender defeated former DPOA President Gary Lee by 459 votes and was the only Unity Slate candidate to be elected. Offïcer Herman Williams, who ran on the Unity Slate for VanDevender's former post of secretary-treasurer of the union, was the only black ever to survive a DPOA primary, but he was defeated in the general election by former DPOA Sergeant-atArms Richard Weiier. In other DPOA contests, incumben t vice-president Dave Watroba defeated Unity Slate I lenger Jim Radcliffe, and DPOA activist Robert Scully topped Roy C. Gray for the sergeant-atarms post. Despite some speculation that the newly-elected VanDevender, an 18-year pólice veteran, may face a rough term, several officers said they believe his program for unity has a good chance of succeeding. If it does, the union's relationship with the Young administration could herald a new, more promising future for the City, the pólice department, and troit residents as a whole. State Rep. Daisy Elliott (DDetroit), one of the legislators present at the installation banquet, expressed the sentiments of many others wlien she said "this could very well be the turning point toward a cooperative alliance between the mayor and the DPOA. We all hope so." Much of the optimism in this commünity regarding signs that the DPOA's bitterness toward Mayor Young would give way to a more peaceful relationship stemmed from the mayor's firing of former Pólice Chief Philip Tannian. There had been a general demand for Tannian's removal throughout the pólice department ever since the former Roman Gribbs administrator was appointed to fill John Nichols' post when Nichols ran for mayor against Coleman Young. At one point, DPOA officials said that if Young fired the Chief they could patch up their differences with the mayor. This optimism was enhanced when the resentment among the troops which local news media and others anticipated would follow Young's appointment of' William Hart as the city's first bFack pólice chief failed to materialize. In fact, Hart has been widely accepted by Detroit pólice officers, who have voiced their approval almost unanimously. Nor did media speculation that pólice officers would resent the mayor 's appointment of James Bannon to the Executive Deputy Chief position formerly held by Frank Blount prove valid. The entire department's reaction to its new top command has been one of positive acceptance bordering on relief. Pólice officers have generally resented having anyone who was not a cop in the top pólice post. Their position has always been that someone from the ranks knows more about and can better deal with the problems and needs of the pólice department than an outsider. In an interview with The Sun last week, Mayor Young reaffirmed his remarks at the DPOA banquet. "We're going to do it. We 're going to turn this city around," he declared. Young, who has consisten tly refuted those citizens and the news media who seem bent on depicting Detroit as a "dying (continued on page 25) Young, DPOA Reach New Understandïng (continuedfrom page 3) city," emphasized ihat "we must have the cooperation of the police and the citizens. We must doit together," he said. Mayor Young also dispelled all speculation about his future plans when he announced last week that he will indeed seek reelection next November. "I'm not interested in a federal appointmenC he told reporters. "I'm interested in this city and being elected by its people." This was in response to questions about a possible federal position under a Carter administration. The mayor was one of Carter's first major black supporter-s and has been mentioned often as a candidate for a top administration post if Carter is elected. "When I was elected I said I wanted this city to be turned around," Young told reporters. 'That hasn't been done yet." He emphasized that he is still determined to carry out that pledge. One of his pet projects, the pólice mini-station program, is still unfinished business, he said, referring to his plan for a total of 50 mini-stations around the city. At a dedication ceremony Friday which opened Detroit's 32nd mini-station at Jefferson and Iroquois, near Indian Village, Mayor Young maintained that the mini-stations make pólice more responsive to the people and that, despite criticism, they will presently be expanded to 40 stations. The program had stalled until Young appointed James Bannon to head the mini-station operation last February when he ed that several were not operatingashe had planned. Bannon has done a good job of getting them in order, Young explained, and his successor will be charged with completing the process of setting them up correctly. Where they are functioning properly there is cooperation between the pólice and people in the community, and many citizens say this has resul ted in a decrease in crime which is reflected in pólice crime statistics. Young's pledge to put more pólice on the street as beat cops was hampered by the financial crisis which hit the city early this summer, necessitating massive pólice layoffs, the closing of several city departments, and a number of across-the-board program cuts.