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Live reporting by Alex Klaus
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The Board of Police Commissioners interviewed two candidates for board secretary, Genevieve Clark-Dench and Shakira L. Hawkins. Commissioners considered administrative leave without pay but with medical benefits for four police officers, approving suspensions for three.

Alex Klaus 🌈⭐️ @mostlikelyalex
Good afternoon! Today at 3 pm I’ll live-tweet the Board of Police Commissioners meeting for #DETdocumenters. @DetDocumenters @BridgeDet313 @chalkbeatDET @freep @metrotimes @Michigan_public @media_outlier @PlanetDetroit @wdet @wxyzdetroit

01:57 PM May 2, 2024 CDT

Alex Klaus 🌈⭐️ @mostlikelyalex 2/87
Documenters coverage:
BOPC meeting site:……
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Today’s agenda includes three interviews for board secretary and four closed sessions.…
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Former board secretary Victoria Shah resigned from her position on December 27th. Robert Brown is currently serving as interim secretary in her place.…
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In the four closed sessions, the board will consider administrative leave without pay but with medical benefits for four officers:
Abdullah Nasser, Sixth Precinct
2, Kayla Roe, Twelfth Precinct
Brandon Jordan, Ninth Precinct
Anthony Darling, Eleventh Precinct
Alex Klaus 🌈⭐️ @mostlikelyalex 6/87
This meeting will likely run long due to the board secretary interviews and closed sessions. I’ll see you all at 3pm!
Alex Klaus 🌈⭐️ @mostlikelyalex 7/87
Chair QuanTez Pressley is calling the meeting to order. There is no quorum. They’re starting with the word of indication despite there being no quorum.
At this time I’m not sure how many commissioners are missing.
Alex Klaus 🌈⭐️ @mostlikelyalex 8/87
It looks like another board member, who I think is Vice Chair Tamara Liberty Smith, has arrived. There is now a quorum.
Board member absences:
Willie Banks (excused)
Willie Burton
Lisa Carter
Darryl Woods
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Commissioner Jesus Hernandez is asking to insert a closed session to “handle personnel matters in relation to the board secretary” directly after the interviews.
Commissioner Burton has joined the meeting, 3:07pm
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@HerbergRadio has informed me the BOPC passed out an agenda at the in-person meeting with only two candidates interviewing for the board secretary position.
Pressley said one candidate declined to move forward, hence why there are only two candidates today.
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Genevieve Clark-Dench is interviewing first. It appears John Tipton is the interviewer, who’s attending virtually.
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They’re starting with a brief overview of the position before starting questioning.
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Q: How has your previous experience prepared you for the position? Any experience in civilian oversight/law enforcement?
She has a Bachelors degree in sociology from Wayne State University and an undergraduate minor in psychology. She started her career in labor/human relations
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She’s speaking about her experience with the UAW union, her work on negotiation teams, and her work with United Way.
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Q: Discuss options you would consider to handle someone who is disrespectful or refuses to comply. How many employees have you supervised?
She’s talking when she promoted from financial aid officer at Wayne State to management. (continued)
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An employee felt they should’ve received the promotion instead, then ignored her supervision, direction, and communication. She tried communicating verbally, then in writing, then sent direct copies to her supervisor. (continued)
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The employee stopped coming to work and she eventually informed if they didn’t come into work they would be considered voluntarily resigned. The person never showed up to work again. She then made appropriate changes.
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She’s also talking about how she solved an ongoing workplace issue at the financial aid office as directed during her masters program. She successfully solved the problem. She also found glitches in the computer system that undermined operations.
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Q: Describe a time you were placed under pressure
She was responsible for a pension plan that covered 92 nonprofit organizations that were disaffiliating with the plan. She’s describing how she dealt with this.
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Q: Describe a time you had to interact with a difficult communicator
A international student at the financial aid office had a culture not to communicate with women in authority. He refused to speak with any of the female workers. (continued)
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She said he became belligerent and after she excused herself, instructed a colleague to call public safety. PS sent a student to observe who then sent three officers. PS Sergeant said he was not welcomed if he couldn’t speak to women in authority.
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Q. Whats the best way to manage expectations from different stakeholders
Working with them on a 1-to-1 basis and know the people they work with. Stresses the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. She likes to have periodic meetings to build rapport.
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Referencing her work at United Way, how she sometimes has to use outside resources like an attorney. Stresses the use of meetings to share information and discuss with each other.
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She wants to know the history and context of the BOPC (some of which she already knows), wants to know about each commissioner and their term lengths, about their interests for the board, and how their experiences inform their work as commissioners.
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She wants to look for similarities in needs to see what she can accomplish for the board.
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Commissioners are allowed to ask questions but they have to be general enough to also apply to the other applicant
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Burton asked, considering this is a police oversight board, what would her goal be to improve community input on the board?
She wants to know the current community input, have the opportunity to speak with community members and their respective commissioners. (Continued)
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She recognizes different precincts have different issues and wants to provide the best suggestions that work for each community.
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Woods is asking what compelled her to apply. She was driven to the position because she’s seen things that occurred on the board—including community input and interactions between board members—and felt she can help fix the issues she’s seen. She has a desire to make things work.
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Burton is asking if she has attended an in-person BOPC meeting. She said this is her first time.
Pressley asked how much time she’s anticipate needing before being competent enough for the position. She said about 30 says.
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Shakira Hawkins is next, should be in the room in a minute.
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Shakira Hawkins is here!
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Q: Relevant experience
She’s an attorney born and raised east side of Detroit. Attended U of M undergrad, Detroit Mercy law school. Began in corporate law, preferred public service. Started in legal aid in the civil division. (Continued)
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She’s been a criminal defense attorney in Wayne County for the bulk of her career. Did this till covid, served the city as the Department of Appeals and Hearings hearing officer. She’s very familiar with Michigan and Detroit laws. (Continued)
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She’s on the blight team and regularly uses the Detroit code. She has experiences with FOIAs and subpoenas.
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Q. Discuss options to handle people who refuse to comply with reasonable directions or is disrespectful.
Believes in establishing rapport, treating others the way she wants to be treated. Doesn’t like micromanagement.
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Said she would talk to the person, ask what she can do to assist them so they can do their job better, outline areas of concern so they’re aware of problems and issues. If they continue, she would let them know the ramifications of noncompliance and act accordingly.
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Q. How do you handle pressure and conflicting demands at work?
She’s a defense attorney and is familiar with managing high pressure situations. Stresses being proactive. There was a little more to this answer I missed sorry about that!
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Q: Experience interacting with difficult or abusive communicators.
She takes a deep breath, tries to understand why someone is irritated, and does everything she can to help the difficult person. She’s giving an example where she experienced issues with a traffic ticket.
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Q. How do you manage expectations of many different stakeholders? Then explain how you managed a situations.
She said this issue rises in city government frequently. Talks about the blight department when the community gets into an unroar but (continued)
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the department has to act a certain way. Said this is just part of the job.
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Q: What are some best practices you’d use to comport with best practices regarding civilian oversight
She’s want to keep the board’s purpose in mind, why they were founded, and look at places that have seen success and use that as a blueprint.
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Pressley is asking about her goals to include community input. She likes community outreach on her blight team because it provides real life experience. She wants to transfer this to BOPC work, discussing policing in each community.
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Q: Have you looked at the city’s charter or BOPC website
She’s looked at several parts of the city’s charter. She has a good idea of duties of the board and the police.
She looked at BOPC bylaws. She likes the BOPC website has so much information.
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Q: Why did you choose to apply
She applied over a year ago, and thought it would be a great opportunity because she comes from a law enforcement family, her mom was a cop, family friends were officers, has always had a lot of respect and love for the police. (Continued)
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Becoming a defense attorney challenged what she grew up with. As a citizen and defense attorney, she’s had negative experiences. She’d like to become a source of reform and increase education or training, maybe she can change things for the better. (Continued)
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She at least wants to help the people she serves do their job better. Said we have a good force and doesn’t fear the DPD. Says there are bad apples but believes the DPD is still good.
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Q. Have you attended an in person meeting?
Not including Zoom, no.
Q. How long would it take for you to feel confident in the role?
She can hit the ground running, will need to learn lingo, but thinks she could quickly learn.
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Interview is over. Hernandez is motioning to go into closed session to discuss candidacy. Going to take a 3 minute recess to set up for closed session.
I’ll update when they return.
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At 5:11 Chair Pressley has called the meeting back to order.
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Onto the chief of police report.
Deputy Chief Bliss is presenting the report.
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Bliss is describing a shooting that occurred yesterday. Here’s the news report:…
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Now he’s talking about the draft. Said the police response was widely recognized.
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Chief report finished. Now moving to oral communications and public comment
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Said neighborhood police officers (NPOs) are helping to keep the city safe and peaceful. Thinks the DPD needs more NPOs and more city inspectors to enforce city codes and ordinances. Hopes the board will help with this.
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“Happiest 91 year old woman I can ever be.” Thinks the DPD did great during the draft. Going to brag about Detroit when she goes to the Democratic Convention in Chicago.
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Lt. Young says demonstrators and protestors “around this country are “placing law enforcement officers at risk for their own self gratification.”
“Yes we have the right to protest” but “you don’t have the right to commit violence” or “put officers at risk”
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Trying to get a mental health hospital implemented in Detroit
Mentions “dangerous effects of marijuana” claims there is correlation between violence and marijuana use
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Said police officers are trying to cover up her rape and act like it didn’t happen. Said she’s made 8 reports and has not heard from anyone.
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@sir_meeko making a complaint about commissioner Woods about a video of paid informants at a gas station about vapes being sold underage. Woods was flashing a badge. Said he does not have authority to act like a cop when he isn’t one.
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Mentions a report on Kanisha Coleman, hopes the BOPC has the report so they have all the information.
Talks about voter fraud in Detroit, mentions this couldve impacted elections for the BOPC
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Former commissioner William Davis. Congratulates the DOD for the presentation of the city they put on for the draft. Wants to continue that.
Bothered by the # of lawsuits against the DPD as seen in city council meetings. Millions of dollars go out every year paying lawsuits.
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Three or four different areas where it was difficult for her to get around at the draft. I think she has a physical disability which made this harder. Wants to ensure everyone gets a chance to walk around the NFL draft without having difficulties due to accessibility errors.
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Public comment is over.
Darryl Woods said four places have been closed due to selling vapes to children. Said the DPD has been active in this. Argues he didn’t do anything unethical (regarding the public comment directed toward him) “I’ll always stand with children”
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Going into announcements now. Mentions the community meeting next Thursday at 6:30
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Seven candidates were interviewed for an OCI investigator position. Six people are moving on to another interview.
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He’s recommending raises in OCI investigator salaries for several employees.
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Pressley is acknowledging the 4 closed session and is hoping to go through this section of the meeting quickly.
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The BOPC just passed the recommendation to advance the 5 (I incorrectly said 6 originally) OCI investigator candidates to the next interview round.
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We’re going into closed session. It appears they will go into closed session once to discuss all four officers. The board is taking a three minute recess to transition into closed session.
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I will be back to report when the board returns from closed session.
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Chair Pressley is calling the meeting back to order at 6:24. There’s a motion to approve the chief’s recommendation to place Abdullah Nasser on admin leave.
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Bernard thinks its not appropriate to taking an officer’s pay without there being a finding of actual facts and a written report.
Bernard opposed the motion to vote and she, Burton, and Moore voted not to suspend pay. With 5 votes for and 3 against, the motion failed.
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Chair Pressley is calling the meeting back to order at 6:42.
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Motion to approve the chief’s recommendation for admin. leave without pay with medical benefits for Kayla Roe.
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Bernard says because a person’s salary is important, it shouldn’t be taken away lightly. Said the legal process regarding her violation has not been completed. Bernard said she has not been charged with anything yet.
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Bernard voted no, Burton abstained 6 for votes 2 against. Motion passes.
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Entering closed session again. Will be back when they return
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Meeting is back in session at 6:58. They are about to vote on admin leave without pay with medical benefits for Brandon Jordan
Commissioner Bernard is echoing the same statement as she’s made with the other two officers.
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Burton is asking about the legal opinion from the board’s attorney but he’s asking this while the board is voting so he’s considered to be out of order.
Bernard voted no, Burton abstained. 6 for 2 not, motion passes.
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Chair Pressley is calling the meeting back to order at 7:26.
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Once again, a motion to accept chief’s recommendation for admin leave without pay and with benefits for Anthony Darling.
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Commissioner Bernard is repeating her statement. Elected officials are allowed to continue receiving pay until there is a finding of guilt and doesn’t think officers should be held to a different standard than others.
Bernard was the only one who voted no. Motion passed.
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Meeting adjourned 7:30 pm.
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