When Warren Evans took over as Detroit’s police chief last summer, he came on strong and got results, reports Time magazine. Evans deployed a Special Response Team (SRT), using military-style tactics and weapons to handle ordinary police actions like traffic stops. At a time of cutbacks to the police force, he seemed to be effectively doing more with less. Last month, touted his progress. The average police response time to priority 911 calls had shortened nearly 28 percent, to 24 minutes, from the time taken a year earlier. Recorded homicides declined 25 percent.
Now Evans’ paramilitary approach is under attack. The criticism comes in the aftermath of a new wave of violence that included the death of a 7-year-old girl who was accidentally shot by police during a raid of a home. So far, Evans has the support of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. But the mayor told the Detroit News that Evans is “aggressive,” and said a deputy mayor will be “reining him in.” Changes may come after state and federal investigations of the May 16 killing of the 7-year-old girl, Aiyana Stanley-Jones.