Police look at year-end numbers, hire officers

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published February 12, 2013

HARPER WOODS — Police Chief James Burke said that they are starting to hire part-time officers to help the city get more officers on the roads, and they are also in the process of tabulating 2012 crime reports with some pleasant results to report.

Despite some recent concerns raised about crime on the west side of the city in the Kelly corridor, preliminary numbers of Group A crimes appear to be on the decline again in the city. Group A crimes are the worst types of incidents, including murder and rape.

“We’ve had six or seven years with significant decline,” Burke said.

That is despite losing 30 percent of manpower in the department since last year. Burke credits his officers for picking up the slack, but believes the hiring of the part-time officers will do more to help the department battle crime.

Burke said he should have the official year-end numbers in the next couple of weeks. He’ll also have more information about the hiring of the officers.

While the most heinous types of crimes look like they’ve gone down, the city has seen an uptick in other crimes, such as car theft and home invasions. Those part-time police officers will allow the department to tackle issues so the full-time force can hit the streets even more.

“Our success has been and always will be having uniformed police officers on the streets,” Burke said.

He said he is proud of the additional work his crew has done while short-staffed, but he is also proud of both unions for paving the way to bring on part-time officers by agreeing to the proposal.

The other concern he has had is the number of guns they had to take off the streets in 2012, which totaled more than 75.

“It’s vitally important that we get these extra officers,” Burke said.

As for Kelly, city council and city officials talked briefly about issues during a meeting last month. There was talk of the need for a business administration as one issue on Kelly, but crime was also mentioned.

City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said they are discussing it and that Burke came up with an idea for a possible mini-station on Kelly.

Check back online for more on the official crime numbers and hiring of officers.