You can't put a price on safety, but paying individuals to surrender weapons goes a long way toward increasing the peace. On Saturday, June 11, 2016, Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon, Judge Greg Mathis and Caliber Collection CEO Jessica Mindich teamed up to hold a unique gun buy-back event in one of Detroit's neighborhoods hit hardest by violence. Judge Greg Mathis generously donated use of the Mathis Community Center (19300 Greenfield Road) to serve as the venue for the program and also stayed onsite to helped facilitate its success.
The gun buy back event offered $50 per weapon surrendered--no questions asked--with a limit of three weapons per person. The community response was overwhelming. Several hundred guns were taken in within the first hour! WCSO officers conducted the process which was swift and orderly. All types of weapons were retrieved, from handguns to long barrel rifles. All that was required was the weapon was to be brought in unloaded, in its carrying case or wrapped in newspaper. Everyone who participated complied and even applauded the Sheriff and his team for their effort.
"Gun buy-back programs are effective because they allow people to get rid of weapons in their homes they don't want around," said Sheriff Napoleon. "Too many of our babies and loved ones are falling victim to gun violence. This allows us to work together to get guns off the streets which will save lives."
The Sheriff's office is grateful to Caliber Collection CEO Jessica Mindich who donated the $25,000 used to pay for the gift cards. She spearheaded the program several years ago with then New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker in response to a spike in crime in his city. While most gun buy back programs are pretty cut and dried, C4C has a pretty unique twist. After the guns are processed, they weapons are redendered inoperable and melted down. Mindich's company then retrieves the melted product to have artists turn them into rings, bracelets and cufflinks which are imprinted with serial numbers and emblazoned with Detroit before they're sold. The jewelry can be purchased online at calibercollection.com, Amazon, s.h.e. stores in Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe, the Detroit Shop at Somerset Mall and at the DIA.
Once again, Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon has joined others in the agency to promote the importance of literacy. March is "National Reading Month" and in observance of such an important occasion the Sheriff visited Hope Academy and read to the second graders. In addition to reading, Sheriff Napoleon talked with the young scholars about continuing to do well in school, following their teachers' instructions and most importantly obeying their parents! The kids promised to do so after they were "sworn in" as Student Deputies!
On Saturday March 5, 2016, officers from metro Detroit and neighboring states will rush the court at University of Detroit Mercy's Calihan Hall for First Responder Day. The event is being organized by the non-profit group First Responders For Fitness which joined forces with UDM to put on the inaugural event. The 2016 Battle of the Badges Midwest All-Star Basketball Game will have players from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Detroit Police, Detroit Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Cleveland (OH) Fire Department, Toledo (OH) Fire and Rescue, U.S. Border Patrol and Macomb County Sheriff's Office! They're participating in a full day of family fun with a focus on nutritional, mental and physical training sessions to stimulate wellness. There will also be table top exercises for Explorers, a half-time Tug-of-War contest and community relations booths manned by the agencies involved. First Responders tip off in the exhibition match at 9:30 a.m., followed by Women's Basketball at 1:00 p.m.-University of Detroit versus University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. For ticket information, log on to http://www.DetroitTitans.com or call 313-993-1700.
The Detroit Tigers Caravan made a pitstop at Wayne County Sheriff's Office Headquarters as the team makes its way to Spring Training in Lakeland, FLA. Manager Brad Ausmus, Coaches Dave Clark, Gene Lamont, and Matt Martin joined Ian Kinsler and James McCann as they met with WCSO personnel recently. The group gabbed all things baseball with their fans in law enforcement and also learned a few things about the WCS operations they never knew. They surprised the officers with a raffle of Tiger paraphernalia. The big winners--John Asquini, Cmdr. Lynnette Cain and Sgt. Grant Patterson! The visit was a treat for the agency which happily assists with crowd and traffic control at home games each season and participates each year in its September 11th tribute. Go Tigers!
By land, sea and air, that's where Sheriff Benny Napoleon and Detroit Police Chief James Craig say their joint effort to pool resources will have an even greater impact on public safety. The law enforcement leaders held a press conference in December to announce about a dozen DPD officers were being deputized to work on WCS marine unit boats to expand DPD's jurisdiction in marine incidents and also add manpower to assist the WCSO Marine Unit which is feeling the effects of a department-wide personnel shortage. Accordingly, WC deputies will have access to DPD helicopters for investigative and law enforcement purposes. The partnership is the latest in a string of collaborations between the WCSO and DPD to increase public safety.