The Intersection: The Complicated Conversation about Police and Community

Retired officer talks about the complexities of community policing.

white police car with blue and red decorations

Detroit Police car, 2016.

Sandra Svoboda

Tyrone Carter has had complex conversations about law enforcement and community in both his professional and personal lives. He is a retired Wayne County Lieutenant who spent several years on the streets of Detroit and surrounding communities. He lives in southwest Detroit and has two sons who have experienced what many other young African-American men report as all-too-common dealings with police.

“I always tell my sons, at the end of the day you want to be able to tell your story,” says Carter. Carter says that means staying as safe and responsible as possible. He says he knows not all police officers treat young men alike, and that young men of color often have more encounters with police officers. “The biggest issue that undermines everything is the cutting of budgets for training [for police.]”

Carter says money plays a big role in the justice system on both sides. 

“People are being over-taxed and over-burdened” and judges often send people to jail who can’t pay fines and fees, says Carter. But, he says, things are also getting harder for police officers. He says they are underpaid and being a police officer is more alike a job than a career these days. 

“I thank God I’m retired, because there’s so much police disrespect perpetrated by a few.” 

To hear more of Carter’s conversation with WDET’s Sandra Svoboda on “Detroit Today,” click on the audio player above.