|Chief Ryan Strong|
Strong said he wanted to take the opportunity to communicate with the public and let them know what was happening in the Wayne department and answer any questions that residents might have. He began the Zoom meeting by noting that more than 400 Wayne seniors received a COVID vaccination during an event earlier in the month at the HYPE recreation center.
He urged those who were unable to register for the inoculations to do so at COVID@cityofwayne.com or by calling (313)923-7531.
Strong said there was now some light at the end of the tunnel during the pandemic but that it was still important to exercise precautions and wear masks and practice social distancing.
“We need to continue to take care of ourselves, our neighbors and our families,” he said.
Strong explained that while the city was still understaffed by FBI standards which require two officers for every thousand residents, Wayne now has 26 police officers on the force.
We should have 36 for our 17,000 population, he said.
“We had 48 when I first joined the force in '89,” he said, but I'll take 26. At one point, we were down to only 19.”
Strong said there were now four officers in training which, due to COVID was taking a little longer than usual.
He explained that the department was actively recruiting from the police academies, searching for one more officer who would be a community liaison, interacting with the public.
Last year, he said, the department responded to 16,000 calls for service which was a decrease he attributed to COVID.
“People are staying home and minding their own business,” he said, although he admitted he had a concern that the impact on mental health due to the isolation could be a factor in the future.
Strong explained that all Wayne officers are experiencing training related to racial sensitivity and situations and that officers in Wayne are always undergoing training much of which is funded by training.
In response to a question from a resident, Strong said that Wayne officers are always very receptive to training.
“If you don't accept training, law enforcement is probably not the profession for you,” he commented.
When the four officers complete their training, he said, it would allow for a fully staffed road patrol which would put more officers on the neighborhood streets and performing traffic enforcement.
“My number one priority is neighborhood patrols,” he said. “I am excited about getting back up to staffing levels.”
Strong urged residents to call the department for help.
“If you think something is wrong, do not hesitate to reach out to us. If you think there's a problem, there probably is.”
Strong said he hoped to have three more of the community meetings during the year to update residents about the department and address any concerns they might have.
The entire meeting is available on the Wayne Police Facebook page.
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