News

What are the "Stop & Frisk" Consultants Really Doing in Detroit?

Stop & Frisk in Brooklyn photo by Jeremy Sparig

The Detroit Police Department is, and has been, a "stop-and-frisk agency."

Stop-and-frisk is a policing tactic: stopping, questioning, and frisking people on the street for weapons and drugs.

It’s controversial.

Critics argue the practice is marred by racial profiling by the New York Police Department. Last year, a US District Court judge ruled the practice unconstitutional. And just this month, a federal judge held up the opinion, saying the practice employed by the NYPD policy violates the Fourth and 14th Amendment rights of African-Americans and Hispanics targeted under the policy.

Two agencies -- the Manhattan Institute and the Bratton Group -- helped create the frame work for, and implement, stop-and-frisk in New York.

A recent report in the Detroit News says DPD traffic officers are currently working with those consultants on an expansion of Detroit's policy, effectively shifting focus from traffic violations to prodding for more criminal activity.

In New York, a quarter of the population is black, and 28 percent is Hispanic. In Detroit, more than 80 percent of the population is black. So how might racial profiling affect any possible expansion of stop-and-frisk in Detroit?

Michael Allegretti is the vice president of programs at the Manhattan Institute. He tells WDET’s Travis Wright that it's not just stop-and-frisk, but stop-question-and-frisk, and that the right questions lead to successful frisks. He says that Detroit faces unique hurdles, and that

But Allagretti also says the policy think-tank he works for has been doing work in Detroit for a few years, and isn’t here to help train officers.