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For Detroit cops, it's salute or else

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When they hired Ella Bully, I had some high hopes, but after her taking the brunt of Kwyame's Navigator blame, and now this crap, she needs to go too.

For Detroit cops, it's salute or else

Police chief punishes trainees over breach

February 2, 2005



Instead of hitting the streets to catch bad guys, 26 aspiring Detroit police officers are spending extra time at the training academy this week as punishment.

Their crime? They failed to properly greet Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings during a recent encounter, and the chief didn't like it.

On the day Bully-Cummings dropped by the academy, she met the recruits in a garage. Detroit Police Department regulations call for uniformed cops, on specified occasions, to salute the mayor, members of the Board of Police Commissioners and the chief. The visit to the garage was one such occasion.

"The chief came into a room and no one came to attention," said police spokesman James Tate.

"The Detroit Police Department is a paramilitary organization. And if officers are not aware of the basic internal protocol, then how can they be expected to properly utilize the training that they have learned in the academy when interacting with the citizens of this city?"

Bully-Cummings ordered an extra week of training for the recruits, Tate said. He said he didn't know what they are studying this week.

Tate said the rookie cops were also slow to salute the chief at their graduation Thursday at Cobo Hall.

"This class is no better or worse than others we have had in the past," Tate said. "But when simple protocol is not adhered to, then there must be a measure in place that provides additional training. That's why the additional week has been added to their time in the academy before they are assigned to units in the Police Department."

He said this is not the first time an extra week has been added to a class. He had no details, but he said he was sure it would not be the last.

One trainee said the incident was a misunderstanding.

"It was not disrespecting," said the officer, who requested anonymity for fear of losing his position. "But it was taken as disrespect."

Members of the Detroit Police Officers Association, which constantly pushes for more cops on the streets, were livid Tuesday.

"It's ludicrous," said Paul Stewart, union vice president. "What's the purpose of them staying another week in the academy when the citizens of the city of Detroit need help? Crime is rampant. We don't need them in the academy standing at attention."

Detroit Police Commissioner Megan Norris, who attended Thursday's graduation, said she had not heard about the saluting mishap.

"As I remember it, the policy on saluting is the same for the chief, the mayor and the commissioners," Norris said. "I don't recall anybody ever being disciplined in any way for failing to properly salute the commissioners. Rather than selectively enforcing the policy, I wish we could concentrate on its intent, which is according each other the appropriate respect as we all go about conducting the important business of serving the citizens of Detroit."

Detroit is not alone in its saluting policy. Philadelphia has a similar rule.

"We are a paramilitary organization," said Cpl. Jim Pauley. Things are more laid-back in Chicago.

"There is no saluting," said Chicago Police Department spokesman Pat Camden.

He added: "Wow! Detroit's got that much money to keep officers in the academy for an extra week?"

Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-223-4296 or [email protected]

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So the city has an extremely high crime rate, but they are holding the new officers back a week because of something silly like this? Give me a break! Yet another one of the reasons why this city is screwed up.

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A week is over doing it but the idea is far from silly. DPD has been a half-assed organizaton for too long and you have start somewhere. It's attitudes like that is why the DPD has that consent decree. Anythng that makes this more disciplined police force the better. I just hope it doesn't end here

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