21 area law enforcement agencies have just completed Operation Eight Mile, three days of military-style police maneuvers along the 8 Mile Road corridor from the Detroit area suburbs of Harper Woods to Farmington Hills, Michigan. This unprecedented show of force - complete with tanks and helicopters - netted 289 arrests.
Police impounded 109 vehicles, made 122 arrests for narcotics and morality crimes, seized 1,460 grams of marijuana and 187 grams of cocaine, 19 guns and $20,375 in cash. Officers also arrested 22 fugitives who were wanted on warrants.
Police officials said the operation resulted in the most arrests, perhaps in history, of any regional sweep.
The campaign didn’t just target the hardened criminal element. Officers wrote 512 tickets the first day of the operation, just to show the average area resident that they meant business.
“I see Operation Eight Mile as an opportunity to get the police and community together to make the area safer,” said Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans, whose department coordinated the effort.
“A safe and vibrant Eight Mile corridor is critical to the region as well as to the image and perception of the area people have around the country.”
Military-styled operations like this certainly add to the image and perception of Detroit just a few short weeks ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion of 1967. The State sends a strong message that they will protect the mythical dividing line that separates “the Haves” of the northern suburbs and “the Have-Nots” in Detroit.
In many ways those “Have-Nots” are being further isolated by the powers that be with water shut-offs, high taxes and now police-state tactics. The crime that plagues Detroit is symptomatic of its status as one of the poorest big cities in the country. Yet no one seems to be attacking that poverty like they attack the city’s residents themselves.
Officials promise more sweeps of this kind in the future. Operation Eight Mile was a symbolic demonstration of authority. “They” don’t want anyone to forget who is boss.