Achieving Diversity in Police Departments

BlackburnDiversity Recruitment Fair Flyer

To the right you’ll see a picture of one of our former officers, Darnell Blackburn.  He is a fellow Spartan Criminal Justice grad (like me).  He left us for a step up into a job with the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES).  In his role at MCOLES he audits police academies around our region to assure you that the academies are complying with the standards for police set by the Commission.  When you call the police and they arrive at your door at a critical time, you want to be assured that they know what to do from CPR to how to use force in an appropriate way that doesn’t create new and dangerous problems.

In his role he has a chance to see that the police academies are not as diverse in race, gender and ethnicity as they could be.  He knows that police departments must hire from that pool of applicants and the result is that communities are not able to have as diverse of a police department as they need.  So being a Sparty, he knows that we each need to take action, where we are,  using the tools we have, to make positive change in the world.  I’m with him all the way.  So when he contacted us to tell us he is sponsoring a recruitment fair in Warren on October 2nd, we signed on right away.  I also told him I’d help publicize through this blog and our other social media.

Given all we’ve seen in Ferguson, Missouri and other places around the country, we know that policing is important to communities–how it is done and by whom is of critical importance to the success of communities.  Why is it important to be diverse?  Because the communities are diverse.  Having a diverse police force that reflects a diverse set of life histories and can share the viewpoint of the people they serve is important.  There is also research that shows that diverse workforces are less likely to have behavioral and corruption problems and higher community confidence.   High quality police establish safety and security in a community– the environment where the local economy can flourish.

Here is a poster for the event.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll achieve his goal and have a good turn out. I value his efforts to make positive change in the world.  By the way he is an inspiring speaker, if you need someone at your event.










We will be training at Great Lakes Crossings AFTER the mall closes on Sunday

On Sunday evening, September 21, 2014, the Auburn Hills Police Department, in cooperation with The Taubman Company, will be hosting a training exercise on the property of Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, 4000 Baldwin Rd. Auburn Hills, MI 48326. The training exercise is a multijurisdictional exercise designed to simulate an active assailant incident.  The event is scheduled AFTER the mall closes for the day.

This training exercise is designed as a one day drill to test the response and preparedness of first responders as well as private sector partners in response to such a dynamic and tragic situation. The public can expect to see a large number of law enforcement agencies in the area.

During this training exercise Great Lakes Crossing Outlets will be closed with the exception of the following establishments:  AMC Theater, Bar Louie, Burlington Coat Factory, Miyako Japanese Steakhouse, and Toby Keith’s I love this Bar & Grill. Additionally, Great Lakes Crossing Dr. will be closed from approximately 5:30 PM to 10:00 pm.

Only authorized personnel will be allowed to attend or participate in the training. Due to the sensitive nature of the training, and for the safety of all, this training will not be open to the public for observation.

We are letting the public know that this is a training exercise, so not to unduly alarm anyone.

Lock Your Cars 3 and Great Lakes Crossings Traffic

Update on the larcenies from cars:  

Thanks to you, we had a pretty good weekend with respect to thefts from cars.  You’ve been doing much better about locking your cars so as not to be an easy target for these thieves.  Also the Sheriff’s Office arrested one of our main suspects in the act out in Independence Township (someone noticed this person as out of place and called).  Although he is not willing to admit to being responsible for our thefts, we note that the sheer number has gone down.  Now that doesn’t mean you can go back to leaving your purse in an unlocked car–there are several other groups out there doing this same thing.  So keep locking those cars and garages and keep on your outside lights to help us and to discourage thieves.  And call the police if you see someone that seems suspicious.

Secondly, the traffic at Great Lakes Crossings.  

I know it is a problem.  We worked on it all weekend.  At one point, we had 8 officers (the whole shift) up there doing hand direction trying to clear gridlock.  RCOC is hurrying to get Baldwin Road construction completed before the holiday season.  We are giving constant traffic reminders by NIXLE and Twitter trying to convince shoppers to use Joslyn exit to come and go from the mall.  We know that many of the shoppers come from 50+ miles away and are using GPS to get here.  So we don’t have an opportunity to get them to use other routes.  It isn’t helping that there is construction at Joslyn and SB I-75 entrance ramp either.

So we don’t want you to stay away but we want you to stay away from Baldwin Road near the mall at the peak times.  We know that late afternoon, 3pm to about 6 or 7 pm, there is a phenomenon the officers call “shopper shift change.”  It means that people who came in early in the day are ready to leave and those coming in for evening shopping or entertainment are trying to arrive.  The problem is created when everyone is trying to go everywhere and no one can go anywhere when Baldwin is down to 1 lane.  So you might start by avoiding the mall at those times.  We are also considering some traffic impacts like closing the Baldwin exits and/or forcing traffic toward I-75 entrances at certain points when it is heavy like we do with the Palace.  We’ll make sure there is some signage to help you find your way if you aren’t familiar with the area but we can’t let this kind of gridlock continue.

The construction is expected to be done by late October.

You are really going to like the smooth road when that happens.  We’ll be in great shape for Christmas shopping around here!!!


Bike Safely

Back to school means that kids and adults are using bicycles to get where they need to go.  Here are some safety tips

Lock Your Cars 2

You might recall that we have been hard hit lately by thefts from cars.  We’ve been working with neighboring cities who are also getting hit and using resources we have to our best advantage.  I’d like to thank our night shift commanders for their efforts to combat the problem by conducting saturation patrols when they have available personnel which isn’t an often as we’d like.  We’ve moved personnel off other shifts and taken other steps to manage the problem.  While we’ve had a few more come in, nothing like the single instance of 20 reports overnight.  Mostly people have lost change, car chargers, small items like that.  The cars have not been damaged which tells us they were unlocked.  We are processing the cars for fingerprint evidence but have not been successful.  It would not be surprising if the suspects used gloves or even shirt tails to avoid leaving prints.  We’ve seen the thefts in both neighborhood driveways and apartment complexes. Largely they happen in the late hours at night or the very early morning hours.  We have suspects but no arrests to date.

You can help by continuing to lock your vehicles and garages, leaving on those outside lights and calling us when you hear or see something suspicious.  And if you have information about who is responsible you can call us at 248.370.9444 or Crimestoppers 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

What Slows Down Emergency Responders When Every Second Counts

A few weeks ago I was watching a “dash cam” video from one of our cars.  The video came from a sergeant’s car as he was en route to intercept the pursuit of an armed robbery suspect.  The sergeant’s role is to supervise the pursuit –it is his/her responsibility to make sure our policies and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of the public and the officers themselves.  He was trying to get to the location where he expected the pursuit to end.   In this case it was an armed robbery of a gas station where a gun was seen.  The video shows him struggling to get around a truck in the left lane.  The sergeant was using lights and sirens and still the truck wouldn’t move.  Ultimately he did, but slowly.  It wasn’t clear if he didn’t hear or see the police car behind him or he didn’t know what to do. Playing loud radios or wearing headphones or talking on the telephone in the car is commonplace now.  It creates a dangerous situation for us and delays our response.

We have changed our response policies for both police and fire to limit our use of lights and sirens.  So when you see us coming lights and sirens–it is the real deal.

I’ve attached a news story that gives some detail to the subject.

By the way, the law in Michigan says to pull to the right to allow emergency vehicles to pass.  It is very dangerous for us to pass you on the right and we train our folks not to do that.  Allow us to pass by pulling to the right and stopping.

We know you want us to be there when you need our help.  Paying attention to emergency vehicles and pulling over helps us get where we are going.

Lock Your Car!!

You may know that we have been struggling with thefts from vehicles all summer.  We have made some arrests but since these are non violent crimes, these subjects are out of jail nearly right away.  Our neighboring communities are having the same problem so we are working with them. We are trying to analyze the data about the crimes in order to target our scarce resources more efficiently. 
The biggest commonality is that they are targeting unlocked cars.  What could be easier or quieter?  They usually happen inthe very late hours after everyone is in for the night. The suspects are on foot or on bikes. 
We  have had people who are up late and hear or see suspicious things but don’t call us. Every little bit of information is important.
So we are asking you for your help.  Don’t leave valuables in your cars. Lock you garages.  Keep your outside lights on. Call us if you see or hear anything suspicious.

Electronic Cigarettes

I have seen the increasing use of electronic cigarettes but I didn’t know much about them.  I know there is concern in some communities about them.  Some have passed ordinances outlawing or limiting their use : Chicago, Birmingham, MI are examples.  Auburn Hills does NOT have any ordinance addressing e cigarettes.  There is at least one bill currently in the Legislature on the issue but I don’t think there is any action imminent.  I’ve learned that they are not a more healthy alternative to smoking real cigarettes.  I found a great article from the website of our friends at the RAHCC-the Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition–a group of volunteer folks dedicated to healthy living in our communities.  You’ll find a link to their website in the lower left of this page.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), known formally as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are devices designed to look similar to cigarettes in shape, size, and general appearance.

They operate by vaporizing a solution containing nicotine, creating a mist that is then inhaled.

The tips of these devices often have an indicator light, designed to emulate the burning ash of a traditional cigarette.

According to product manufacturers, e-cigarette cartridges are available in various flavors, such as vanilla, menthol, and piña colada, and varying claimed levels of nicotine. Using an e-cigarette is commonly referred to as “vaping.”

Popular brands of e-cigarettes, sold at convenience stores and gas stations, include “blu” and “NJOY.”



  • The components of a typical e-cigarette are illustrated below:
  • Cartridges generally contain up to 20 mg of nicotine.
  • Some users refill their own cartridges, which may be dangerous because it involves dealing with potentially dangerous concentrations of nicotine. Refill bottles contain up to 7 grams of nicotine; 5 the fatal dose of nicotine in adults is estimated at 30–60 mg while for children it is estimated at only 10 mg — or approximately 4 drops of a maximum strength refill solution. This risk is more consistent with nicotine-based pesticides, rather than traditional tobacco products and pose a danger via inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact.


  • Between 6.4% and 7.1% of current smokers have ever used an e-cigarette, compared to ever use of e-cigarettes among never smokers (less than 1.0%).


  • On July 22, 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis analyzed the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from two leading brands of e-cigarettes and found that the tested products contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals. Diethylene glycol, a potentially lethal organic compound, was found in one cartridge, while nitrosamines were detected in several cartridges.
  • Other important findings from the FDA include the following:
  • The quality control processes used to manufacture e-cigarettes seem to be inconsistent or non-existent. Three different e-cigarette cartridges with the same label were tested and each emitted a distinct amount of nicotine with each puff.

Indicator Light Mouthpiece

  • In all but one, the e-cigarette cartridges that were labeled as containing no nicotine had low levels of nicotine.
  • The vapor from one high-nicotine cartridge delivered twice as much nicotine when inhaled than was delivered by the control, a sample of FDA-approved nicotine inhalation products.
  • Studies suggest adverse effects associated with e-cigarettes, but additional non-biased national and international research is needed to understand the effects of both short- and long-term use.


  • The FDA attempted to regulate e-cigarettes as drug-delivery devices but failed after the courts determined that e-cigarettes were properly regulated under the FDA’s tobacco authority pursuant to the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) and not the FDA’s drug delivery device authority.
  • In April 2011, the FDA issued a statement announcing that they intend to regulate e-cigarettes as “tobacco products.” This includes: (1) marketing restrictions, (2) mandated ingredient listing, and (3) pre-market review.12 However, to date, FDA has not asserted its authority over e-cigarettes and they remain unregulated.
  • Several state and local governments, including New Jersey and King County, Washington,have included or are in the process of adding e-cigarettes to their smoking bans. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed banning the use of e-cigarettes on planes. However, several airlines have prohibited smoking e-cigarettes on their aircrafts on their own accord.
  • California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Kansas, Vermont, and Utah have prohibited the sale of e-cigarette to minors since March 2011.


  • The e-cigarette companies advertise their products as a better-smelling, cheaper, and guilt-free alternative to smoking. They are also marketed as a way to circumvent some smoking bans.
  • E-cigarettes are promoted heavily online, and are more widely searched than snus and NRTs (nicotine replacement therapy).
  • There is concern that e-cigarettes may appeal to youth because of their high-tech design, easy availability online or via mall kiosks, and the wide array of flavors of cartridges.


  • A nationally-representative survey found that 40.2% of Americans have heard of e-cigarettes and more than 70.0% of smokers believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes.
  • The most commonly cited reasons for use by e-cigarette users include: the perception that they are healthier/less toxic than traditional cigarettes, aid in tobacco craving/withdrawal symptoms, smoking cessation facilitator, and relapse avoidance.
  • In addition to the health concerns cited above, recent studies suggest that e-cigarettes could be worrisome regarding relapse of former smokers, the “re-normalization” of tobacco, and a gateway for cigarettes. It is also thought that e-cigarettes can contribute to tobacco use by allowing smokers to use nicotine despite ever-increasing smoking bans (dual use). Since they recently emerged on the market, however, more research must be done to fully understand the consequences.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern with e-cigarettes, stating they may undermine tobacco control efforts, such as smoking bans and FDA-approved NRTs. Several countries, including Australia, China, and Brazil have banned the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes.

School Bus Enforcement Zones

It is back to school time again next week.  And we want to remind you that school buses will be out on the roads again.  Here is a video about stopping for school buses.

 We would like you to know that we will be conducting school bus enforcement activities on random dates.  That means that we’ll have an officer on a bus somewhere in town who will be acting as a spotter.  He or she will call other following officers when they see a driver pass a bus illegally.  The officers following will be making traffic stops on the violators.

So leave plenty of time to get where you are going so you won’t be tempted to pass a stopped school bus and get a ticket.

Have a great school year.

How Much Military Equipment Does AHPD Have?

Virtually none is the answer.  We have about 7 ceremonial rifles used by our Honor Guard.  That’s it. DSCN3270

We’ve seen these programs come and go over the years based on what is happening with the military and what war they are or are not engaged in. We have not seen a lot of usefulness for us in the military surplus.  We don’t need armored personnel carriers or grenade launchers.  Police and the military don’t do the same job.  The military mission is to win this country’s wars on foreign soil.   There are times and places for some kinds of military equipment for police but they are very few and very far between.  In contrast, we are part of the fabric of our community.  Which means that we do our job in ways that builds trust with our community.  We want you to know you can count on us to be fair and to do the right things while doing our job in the most professional way possible.  And we know that relationship is built over long experience.

We don’t have a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team here in Auburn Hills.  We have trained our officers to a higher level to be able to take some kinds of actions to protect themselves and rescue others.  Often being able to act quickly can resolve a situation before it devolves into a crisis.  We have been local leaders in less lethal force options because we believe that you want us to take that step first, if we can.  When we have exhausted our options and we have need for a SWAT team we call the Sheriff’s Office or the State Police who work with us to achieve a necessary end. But the responsibility for our community is still ours–we don’t turn it over to someone else to make decisions for what is right in our town.  The SWAT teams are leaving when it is all over–we are staying.

DSC_2604So the same people you see at National Night Out handing out raffle prizes or in your neighborhood registering your child’s bike or the school officer at your child’s school or having lunch in our local restaurants or giving safety talks at preschools and businesses are the same people who will make decisions in our town when a crisis occurs.  We have invested our lives here, we know people here and we understand how this community wants to be policed and their expectations of us.

And we don’t see a role for military grade weaponry.  That is not what we are about.




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