Detroit’s Board of Police Commissioners welcomed a new member during Thursday’s meeting. Tamara “Liberty” Smith is a westsider and former candidate for City Council from District 1. Mayor Mike Duggan selected her, and the appointment was approved by  the council earlier this week. When running for City Council, she mentioned reducing car thefts and addressing human trafficking as pillars of her campaign.

The board still needs one additional member.

Deputy Police Chief Franklin Hayes spoke to the board briefly about the investigation into the death of local Jewish community leader Samantha Woll, saying police have “identified several persons of interest” and that the investigation is “ongoing.” 

Public commenters touched on issues including child abuse and robberies, and two mentioned their support for new commissioner Smith.

Fiscal Manager Drew Fries presented a budget proposal to the board for its upcoming fiscal year, beginning July. The budget proposal has already passed out of the board’s Budget Committee and is close to $5 million dollars. Fries explained the more than 32% increase from last year as being necessary to increase the number of full-time investigators from 13 to 15 and continue to hire temporary investigators to get through a backlog of civilian complaints. 

All six members present voted to approve the budget proposal. The budget process is far from over, Fries reminded commissioners. “We’ll go through the proper channels,” he said, which include, “City Council, the finance department, the budget department.”

Sarah (she/her) believes the best local reporting is a service, responds directly to community needs and reduces harm. Her favorite place in Detroit is her backyard on a summer evening.