Ferndale City Manager Shares Efforts to Embrace Diversity

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(Joseph Gacioch, Acting City Manager of Ferndale, Feb. 24, 2015)

NOTE: Acting City Manager Joseph Gacioch gave the following remarks at the “Call to Council” portion of the City Council meeting Feb. 24:

Tonight I wanted to take this opportunity to update the public and Council on some of the measures that the City and the Police Department have taken toward supporting diversity within our community. We believe that the diversity of our community and Southeast Michigan is a fundamental strength and competitive advantage for our region. The success of our city and the advocating of the identity we have forged is best fulfilled when we embrace diversity as a value, and as a practice.
1. We are excited to announce Ferndale Early College, a joint collaboration between Ferndale gardenfreshADPublic Schools, Baker College and the Ferndale Police Department. As of early as next year, Ferndale high school students may start to earn college credits toward one of four core concentrations with Baker College in Auburn Hills.

One of the four concentrations being offered is Criminal Justice. Officers from the Ferndale PD will be involved in the instruction of Criminal Justice Career classes, including an option to attend a police academy after a student’s 13th year. This program provides a new channel for exposing a young and diverse population to a potential career in law enforcement. Early-stage recruitment for law enforcement has been and continues to be a challenge that most police departments, including ours, seek to address.
2. Over the next six months, our police officers and command staff will be working with a steele lindbloom addiversity and cultural sensitivity training consulting group that focuses on the public sector. The purpose of these trainings is to reinforce the prevention of bias in policing practice and to help our team continue to strive to deliver high-quality services to the public. Furthermore, this training will be available to other city staff and required of those in leadership roles.
3. The Ferndale Police Department has begun to contact other public safety organizations on the local, county, state and federal levels to learn how technology, including body cameras, are being used/incorporated into certain levels of operations. The City is also identifying what channels of funding, if any, exist to fund new technology investments that help support the interests of public safety.
4. City Council and staff recognize that being an inclusive community takes hard work and dedication to support solution leaders in our community who actively promote and engage this DDAnew01philosophy. In this spirit, the City will support the ongoing programs and initiatives brought forth by the Citizens for a Fair Ferndale and the Ferndale Public Schools that advance this philosophy of Ferndale Diversity, more colloquially known as Ferndale Pride.

While we are proud of these advancements and measures, we do not view them as exceptional but simply as supporting the mission and values that drive this community.
Over the past few months, the City has been actively engaged in an ongoing conversation with the ACLU of Michigan. In September of 2014, the City received a letter from the ACLU of Michigan alleging that they had received complaints regarding racial profiling by police officers while conducting traffic patrols on Ferndale’s 8 Mile border with Detroit.
The ACLU of Michigan requested a review of general traffic citation for the period between January 1, 2013 and May 15, 2014. (This would reflect the driving population). The ACLU royal_servicesbalanced the results of this traffic report against Ferndale’s 2010 population census data and drew a conclusion that Ferndale Police engage in racial profiling during traffic stops.
The City has stated and continues to state that we disagree with these conclusions drawn by the ACLU of Michigan. These conclusions are drawn by contrasting two completely different data sets: Traffic citation data that reflects the driving population, the majority of which occurs on 8 Mile and Woodward Avenue—balanced against the static population of the City with no consideration of the populations of adjacent communities.
While we absolutely disagree with the ACLU’s findings, we will continue to promote and work toward the fulfillment of being the inclusive and welcoming community that our residents and businesses pride themselves on.
For more on the City of Ferndale check out their website at http://www.ferndalemi.gov.

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