Citizen complaints against the Detroit Police Department continue to rush in at more than 1,700 a year, showing that more needs to be done to clean up alleged misconduct, says the Detroit Free Press, quoting a report by the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. The board said the complaints range from sexual harassment to excessive force. Twenty cases from 2009 were considered major offenses, resulting in the suspension of officers without pay.
The number of complaints has hovered around 1,700 annually since 2007, a 36 percent increase over 2002. The report faults the department for complying with only 39 percent of a 7-year-old federal consent decree aimed at rehabilitating an abusive department. Among the failures was a slow response to citizen complaints. The police board is urging the department to do a better job of recruiting police officers who “meet the moral and ethical requirements to be a Detroit Police officer.” The recommendations include conducting more in-depth background investigations of applicants, holding recruitment fairs to hire Detroit residents, and clearly showing the standards and expectations of a police officer.