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Wayne County Sheriff Criticizes Policing In Detroit

DETROIT (WWJ) - A top law enforcement official in Wayne County has some harsh words about policing in Detroit.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said that 2,700 cops on the streets is not acceptable and that relying on night walks by ministers and patrols by groups is worse than putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.

"That's really just a gloss over," said Napoleon.  "I'm not saying anything … that I have not said for the last several years.  We need to get serious about what's going on in our community when you see the level of violence that exists."

Napoleon said that it's not the community's duty to police itself.

"It's a great thing to have community policing, but its the responsibility of the government to protect us," said Napoleon.  "… We have a contract with our government that says that we will not engage in vigilantism … but [the government's] responsibility in exchange for that is to protect us."

Bishop Edgar Vann helped launch night patrol groups similar to "The Detroit 300."  He disagrees with Napoleon's stance on community policing.

"Some may call it symbolic.  We're certainly not police persons, but we are showing that we are concerned about our community," said Vann.  "I think that ought to be respected."

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