Shoestring policing

Greetings! This month we are excited to bring to you Keith W. Strandberg’s exclusive interview with Detroit’s Police Chief James E. Craig. Craig drew national attention the last few months when he suggested legal gun owners can help deter crime in cities. Earlier in December, on Detroit’s AM radio program “The Paul W. Smith Show,” Craig said, “There’s a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quickly in the state of Maine.”

Craig has experience. And he speaks his mind. Detroit recently declared bankruptcy and patrol officers are hurting. But this chief will be the first to tell you his beloved motor city is on the upswing, and the enthusiasm is catching.

“Come downtown and see the wonderful things happening,” says Craig. “Come visit us, and then tell me that Detroit is not coming back.”

Further in, we cover the scary/hopeful/stressful topic of funding. If your agency is in need, there are more than a few places you can turn to for assistance. Last week at SHOT Show I met Ryan Smith, Vice Chairman of the nonprofit foundation Spirit of Blue out of Chicago. (You’ll have to sit tight until next month to get the scoop on show coverage—and yes, plenty of firearms.)

Spirit of Blue looks to fill holes in law enforcement operations to include safety, training and resources. They’re constantly raising funds to help deliver equipment upgrades for departments of all shapes and sizes, from local to federal. Smith told me about a tiny, four-car Sabina, Ohio department that recently requested upgraded Bushman patrol rifles and received an entire operational patrol system, including rifles, magazines, sights and more. He says agencies should check first to see whether they are able to receive gifts.

Anyone can nominate an agency to win a grant, or agencies can complete an eligibility form on their website, It might be worth a shot.

Face that application with confidence and organization and take a look at “Coach” Brian Vicker’s writing tips on page 16. Believe or not, most of the work isn’t the writing, rather it’s all about knowing your department—how it works, what it needs and why—and knowing it better than anyone else.