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The MHPD limits the use of force following the best practices across the nation. This includes not allowing the use of “chokeholds”. We have policies that prohibit the use of a TASER on specific body parts (head and neck) and a prohibition on baton strikes to anywhere other than muscle mass. Our officers are prohibited from shooting at vehicles. Officers use de-escalation whenever possible. Every use of force has to be reported to the Training Sergeant and Administration. We report all uses of the TASER to our City Attorney’s office and our insurance company. Further, all use of force reports are also reported to the FBI.
ACTION ITEM: To increase transparency, the use of force reports that are submitted to the FBI will also be submitted to the Crime Commission or new Community Board as described in #2 above.
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The MHPD has not subscribed to the broken windows policing model for many years. MHPD is devoted to Community Policing and getting to know our neighbors and citizens by being present in the neighborhoods and attending neighborhood functions when possible. In addition, the MHPD has strong relationships with local women’s shelters and community social service organizations. The MHPD has continued programs in all the elementary schools that include reading programs, safety programs and walk-throughs to get to know the children and the teachers. The MHPD is also a partner with the Madison Heights Community Coalition and the Community Round Table. The MHPD Chief of Police is on the board of the Michigan Commission on Juvenile Justice and also on the board of the Federal Commission on Juvenile Justice. Both of these boards strive to provide juveniles with structure and alternatives to the Juvenile Justice System. The goal is to prevent juveniles from entering the Juvenile Justice System in the first place.
MHPD has community oversight partially by our Crime Commission and Civil Service Commission. Our Crime Commission has been involved in making recommendations for budget items and for involving the community with presentations on Human Trafficking and participating in Child Identification packets. We have a City Council representative as a member of the Crime Commission as well. In addition, we are required to have a Civil Service Commission comprised of three residents; this commission oversees hiring practices and can hear disciplinary cases instead of arbitration if so requested by the Union and/or employee.
ACTION ITEM: As part of this evaluation, and at the suggestion of several City Council members we are researching a different formula for the community commission/task force that would include the activities of the current Crime Commission and Multicultural Board. This new committee would focus on the city and department’s current needs and issues related to diversity, racial relations, and community engagement. We expect to have a report to City Council in the coming weeks regarding staff’s recommendations for the ordinance required to establish such a committee and general focus.
All citizen complaints and internal complaints are fully investigated by the command staff. A full report is prepared and turned over to the Deputy Police Chief for review. The Deputy Police Chief verifies the thoroughness of the investigation and then reports his findings to the Chief of Police for a full review. If the complaint is criminal in nature, the investigation is always handled by an outside agency. (Usually the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department or the Michigan State Police.) If the incident occurred outside the jurisdiction of the City of Madison Heights, or while the officer was serving on a joint task force, the agency that has jurisdiction would be the investigative agency and they could also choose to bring in an outside agency for investigation.
Despite the difficulties in recruitment of Police Officers, we have actively worked to diversify our police department to represent the community we serve. City-data was taken from the 2010 Census and will be updated when the 2020 census is completed. We have a total of 56 sworn officers and police service aides and as of the 2010 census a city population of 29,694. In addition, we also have 3-female police officers, and 4-female Police Service Aides. Our current city and force make-up are detailed below:
In recent years, to assist with recruitment and help those that do not have the resources to be trained as a Police Officer we have allocated funds to the police academy. This did prove useful in our recruitment efforts. We have also offered incentives by allowing officers that were coming from other departments to start at higher wage steps than entry-level.
ACTION ITEM: In anticipation that it will continue to be difficult to hire quality officers we will be looking to expand the police academy reimbursement program. We will also be working to develop recruitment videos and plans that reach a diverse recruitment pool. We are not suggesting relaxing standards for officers including background checks and probationary periods as it is vital to have quality employees to maintain a quality community focused department.
As part of the fiscal year 2021 adopted budget, the department will be replacing the existing in-car video camera system. Also, each officer on the Department will be issued a body camera which will also be purchased in the 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget.
ACTION ITEM: As part of the implementation of body cameras we will be developing policies governing the use of body cameras that follow best practices nationwide. These practices include ensuring public access to footage, prevents storage of non-essential footage, requires officers to record while on-duty, includes specific disciplinary consequences for violations, and prohibits the cameras from being used with biometric scanning and other surveillance technologies. The implementation of body cameras will require the hiring of a records clerk to help implement these practices and respond to requests for footage. This position has been budgeted but is currently on hold until the cameras are implemented.
During the last year, the MHPD Police Officers spent over 2,776 hours in in-service training. The topics included but were not limited to: implicit bias training, comprehensive weapons training, police response to fires, NARCAN Training, Defensive Tactics Training, de-escalation training, less lethal weapons training, oleoresin capsicum (OC) Spray Training (aka pepper spray), TASER Training, tourniquet application, mental health response, crisis intervention training, active shooter response training, cultural awareness training, interacting with the mentally ill, and interaction with mentally ill veterans or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to list a few.
Madison Heights is not structured in this manner and this does not exist. Our police department is funded by property taxes, state shared revenues, and grants. End broken
This does not apply to Madison Heights as we have not been militarized. The only piece of equipment we have from the military is a 1973 Armored Personnel Carrier. It is only used a handful of times during the year, specifically for barricaded gunman situations. The vehicle has heavy plate armor that can be used to protect the officers from gunfire.
Many of the rights given to the Police department unions are covered by State laws making this something that we cannot unilaterally change. New state legislation is needed to give the City and the Police Department more rights when it is necessary to remove a bad officer from the force. This does not mean it is impossible to remove officers that violate rules, commit criminal acts, or display racial bias. The MHPD practices a zero tolerance management style taking aggressive steps to protect the integrity of our department and the officers who proudly serve our community.