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Detroit Police to bring back 'Gang Squad' with a new name

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Detroit Police Chief James Craig plans to reintroduce a version of the Gang Squad, which was disbanded earlier this year, during a press conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

However, some people wanted to talk about it beforehand.

When it comes to crusaders working to stop the violence before it starts, plenty of people used to point to the DPD Gang Squad, which was busted up back in March. The reason for the breakup was to get more boots on the streets.

"I think that was a huge mistake that was made," said Andy Arena, director of the Detroit Crime Commission.

Arena said it appears that Gang Squad is getting back together again. It seems its mission may be much of the same. Its name may change, but its role will still be proactive policing.

"Proactively go after gangs throughout the city, not just focus in one area and get so fixated that you're really missing the big picture. I think this gives them the ability to address the big picture. It's a good move on their part," Arena said.

Let's talk data. Just how big and bad is the gang problem in the city?

"We estimate there's maybe 2,500 true gang members in the City of Detroit. There's probably ten times that amount that are actually involved in the gang activity," Arena said. "You've got to proactively go after these guys and cut them off at the knees."

"These units are a key to driving crime down, especially violent crime in the City of Detroit."

"Violent crime is not reduced by creating another gang culture to combat a gang, and that's what they were before," said Ron Scott, the spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality.

His thoughts on revisiting a new version of the Gang Squad?

"Maybe the right desire, but the wrong way of doing it," he said.

Police sources said it will be called the Mobile Tactical Services Section. Scott just hopes the name change means the unit is nothing like it used to be.

"30 percent of the complaints, 30 percent of the confrontations -- use of force is one of the reasons why the feds are here -- came out of the Gang Squad," Scott said. "It's not about kicking somebody's butt. It's about basically building a trust level where in effect the community will allow the police to actually identify people who are perpetrators of crime."

Scott also wanted people to know that he is not anti-police, and he thinks units like this could do some good, but he wants it to be all about the people. He thinks the people should be able to weigh in on what they believe this unit should look like.

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