Ferndale Police Give Annual Report
(Mary Dupuis, Aug. 28, 2022)
Ferndale, MI – The Ferndale Police Department delivered their 2021 Annual Report Presentation and Crime Report Update at a recent City Council meeting.
On Aug. 8 at 7:00 p.m. the report was the first order of business discussed and was delivered by Dennis Emmi, the Chief of Police.
Emmi began by reminding everyone in attendance that the statistics discussed and the presentation are available for public viewing on the department’s transparency dashboard found on their page on the city’s website. He said the statistics are compiled monthly and saved to the dashboard.
He then highlighted the department’s mission, value statements and core values and the staff retirements, promotions and new hires.
Emmi said the staff new hires were noteworthy because it means that in one calendar year the department hired 12 personnel for their patrol and dispatch representing a 62.5% turnover in the dispatch staff and a 16.6% turnover of the officers sworn into the staff.
“It’s an incredible amount of turnover for HR and our admin team to process and hire and then move forward once they become members of the department,” Emmi said. “We have to train them and bring them up to speed on policies procedures and teach them how to do it the Ferndale way.”
Emmi also recognized the work being done by the recruitment team to seek out qualified candidates.
The next part of the presentation was centered around Patrol Division which operates on two 12 hour shifts and is under the command of Captain David Spellman.
Four separate platoons (Day Shift A/B, Night Shift A/B) alternate between the shifts. The day shift is on duty between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and the night shift is on duty between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The report transitioned into a section detailing the Ferndale Police Department Detective Bureau commanded by Detective Lieutenant Casey O’Laughlin. The bureau consists of three detectives and three officers who investigate a wide variety of complaints.
According to the report in 2021 the Detective Bureau reviewed over 1,100 case reports including assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion and weapons offenses. Following reviewing these cases thoroughly approximately 399 warrants were issued.
This led to discussion of the significant cases from throughout the year. Emmi said there was an “unusual uptick” in violent crime across the country and that Ferndale was not immune to this.
In July 2021 the Ferndale Police responded to a call from 7-Eleven about an attempted sexual assault.
The suspect had left the scene but Ferndale detectives worked with the Detroit Police Department to identify the suspect and he was arrested and charged with Assault to Commit Sexual Penetration.
In Aug. 2021 Ferndale Police units were dispatched to a home after the resident discovered a burglar reaching through a side window attempting to steal their laptop.
While the suspect fled the scene they were found on foot in the area. Officers apprehended the suspect without injury and found a stolen handgun in his possession. The suspect was charged with Home Invasion as well as several other felony charges.
There were two different cases of armed robbery that took place.
In Aug. 2021 the Ferndale police units were dispatched to the area of W. Marshall Rd. and Livernois Ave. for an armed robbery following a suspect displaying a firearm to victims while they were in their car and demanding they empty their pockets.
While the suspect obtained several items from the victims and fled the scene on foot the Ferndale Detective Bureau worked with county task forces to identify and apprehend the suspect.
In Aug. 2021 the Ferndale Police were dispatched to a 7-Eleven for a report of an armed robbery. The suspect had fired a round from an AR-15 rifle into the ceiling of the business and robbed the clerk, then left running.
Officers in the area located the suspect in a black sedan and after attempting to contact the driver reported shots fired. Officers then apprehended the suspect.
Following the incident there was a detailed investigation of the events that occurred and it was discovered that prior to the armed robbery at 7-Eleven the suspect had carjacked and shot the registered owner of the black sedan.
The presentation proceeded to highlight the units and teams in the Department.
The Professional Standards Unit and Accreditation is led by Sgt. Janeesa Danielson. The department is currently in its second year of Accreditation, continuing to update policy, complete reports and live up to the standards established by the Accreditation process.
The department’s Community Engagement Officer, Jillian Mahlmeister, is in her third year in the position and works on the Department’s community-oriented policing model to strengthen the Department’s efforts with the community.
The Records Division currently has two records clerks and two property officers. Tamica Brooks is the Department’s records coordinator to provide the community with records services.
In 2021 the Narcotics Enforcement Team officers conducted 366 investigations related to the delivery of narcotics and confiscated a large number of illicit drugs and illegal guns.
Ferndale also has a Drug Enforcement Agency to investigate drug-related criminal activity.
The Department has two officers assigned to the Oakland County Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
The Department has five officers assigned to the Mobile Field Force where Spellman serves as an executive field commander. Officers attend regular training sessions for the program.
There is also a group of additional units in the Department that have been put into action in the last four years. An example listed in the report is The Michigan Indigent Defense Council (MIDC) position established in Jan. 2019 to facilitate interaction between the court-appointed attorneys assigned to the indigent defense council mandate and prisoners.
The Department has one officer assigned to the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force for the metro Detroit area.
As of 2021 there are 13 sworn Auxiliary Officers serving the community as well. Sgt. Patrick Lemke is the coordinator of the unit. It is focused around a variety of functions such as crowd and traffic control and securing the homes of residents out on vacation.
The report briefly mentions the Department’s COVID-19 precautions.
Emmi then highlighted the work the Department does to make Ferndale’s special events safe for the community, many of the events were making a reappearance for the first time following cancellations due to COVID-19 in 2020.
The next section of the report was centered on fair and impartial policing and the use of force.
It was announced that beginning in 2022 the Department will innovate its use of body cameras by upgrading its equipment and modernizing the program.
The proposed new cameras, made by Axon, have the ability to live-stream incidents as they are occurring to allow staff both in the office and in the field to view and collaborate on critical incidents in real time.
Emmi then touched on the Citizens Police Academy taking place for the sixth year in 2021.
About 20 citizens per year are chosen to participate in the four week program where they have an opportunity to learn how their local police department operates and try to “illuminate some of the mystery behind law enforcement and behind the badge.”
One of the final parts of the presentation was dedicated to a review of the Department’s uses of force in 2021.
Emmi said in 2021 there were 18,177 calls for service. Out of the calls made there were 449 arrests and 25 documented incidents of use of force.
The report finished by highlighting the work the Department is doing to respond to the community’s call to blend law enforcement services with community health and human services.
In 2021, the Ferndale Police Department announced a collaboration with Common Ground, Oakland County’s leading crisis services agency to better respond to mental health related emergency calls.
Emmi encouraged anyone with questions or concerns to reach out to himself of the department any time. Their website is https://www.ferndalemi.gov/departments/police.
Photo: Dream Cruise 2022, City of Ferndale