Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in Detroit calls the new Detroit Crime Commission as a welcome civilian adjunct to traditional crime-fighting in metro Detroit, reports the Detroit Free Press. The commission was organized less than a year ago by former FBI agent Ron Reddy, who brought in Andrew Arena, who just stepped down as the top agent in the bureau’s Detroit office, to serve as director, and Ellis Stafford, a former Michigan State Police inspector, as operations director. Arena, who grew up in southwest Detroit, said the commission’s core mission is to identify “the gaps in law enforcement where our funding and ability can make a difference.”
The commission is organized as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity to assist law enforcement. Its website says it also provides analytical resources and training to law enforcement. Instead of arrests and indictments, Arena said, the commission will use civil lawsuits and public awareness to go after and resolve problems. Some material might be handed off to law enforcement for possible criminal charges. Other situations might be given the glare of public spotlighting through news organizations. The commission’s first targets are somewhat intertwined: identifying criminal enterprises, bringing lawsuits aimed at forcing the cleanup of specific nuisance houses and buildings in viable neighborhoods and exposing large-scale slumlords — issues that regularly affect the quality of life for city residents.