DETROIT
06/06/2012 01:09 pm ET Updated Aug 06, 2012

Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Sheriff, Says Detroit Police Need More Officers, Resources [UPDATED]

This story has been updated to include comment from Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, already the target of criticism from his predecessor Warren Evans, is now facing flak from another of the city's former top cops: Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Napoleon, who ran the Detroit force under Mayor Dennis Archer, is calling the city's current count of 2,700 officers inadequate, according to WWJ. The sheriff also sees the recent emergence of citizen patrol groups -- such as the Detroit 300 and a night patrol organized by Bishop Edgar Vann of Second Ebenezer Church -- as evidence of the department's inability to carry out its duty.

"It's a great thing to have community policing, but its the responsibility of the government to protect us," Napoleon told WWJ. "We have a contract with our government that says that we will not engage in vigilantism ... but [the government's] responsibility in exchange for that is to protect us."

A spokeswoman for Napoleon told The Huffington Post in an email that the sheriff "supports the organization and its members but has always stated what he feels the Chief cannot and that is they do not have enough officers in place nor the resources to respond to the levels of crime they're facing." Rather, Napoleon thinks "DPD needs an injection of officers, resources to aid public safety response."

While some say the department needs more resources, other critics say it can do better with what it has. Last month, former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans berated Godbee's current leadership of the department -- telling the same radio station that the force ought to have better results with its budget of over $400 million a year.

"If I hear again that the problem is lack of manpower, if I hear again the problem is we need to do a better job of raising our kids, it's just, it's going to drive me nuts," Evans told WWJ. "Those are social ills and those are issues that are important, but that can not be an excuse for not protecting your citizens."

In May, Detroit's Board of Police Commissioners spoke before city council to request the body put a public safety millage before voters to give the force the funds to hire more officers.

The number of officers patrolling Detroit's streets has been a central issue during Godbee's term as police chief. Earlier this year he launched a controversial program called "virtual precincts" that decreased precincts' open hours and put an emphasis on resolving citizen complaints through a call center, with the goal of increasing officer presence in the streets.

Godbee also drew criticism recently from cannabis advocates, after he announced his opposition to a proposed city ordinance would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana on private property for those over the age of 21.

Godbee told MLive that even if voters approved the measure, Detroit police could continue to enforce state and federal marijuana laws, noting what he called "devastation that substance abuse has caused in the inner city."

Marijuana advocate Tim Beck told MLive police should not spend resources to restrict a behavior that he does not consider a crime.

"People are frustrated in Detroit, to a great deal, by the way the criminal justice system here has functioned," he said to MLive. "I think they really want to see a situation where police can focus their efforts on real crime."

Despite the recent round of disparagement, the hard work of some of the Detroit police force's officers seems to be getting results. The Associated Press reports Wednesday the department has solved a cold case from 1987 -- the double homicide of Joseph Charles Ayres and his wife Winifred, who were stabbed at home that year in a possible robbery.

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