Rising Morale for the Benton Harbor Police Department

By: Marcie Kobringer Email
By: Marcie Kobringer Email

Morale is not the only thing on the rise at the Benton Harbor Police Department; the staff is growing too.

34 officers now patrol the streets and enforce the law in the small city.

A majority of those officers have joined the staff in the past three years, and they tell us, they plan on staying.

Once dubbed the most violent city in Michigan, it comes as no surprise that Benton Harbor had trouble training and keeping its law enforcement officers.

Over three years after the small city’s infamous outbreaks of violent civil unrest, officers there now say, there is no place they would rather be.

Benton Harbor's Police Department now has 34 officers on staff, and has experienced a significant drop in violent crime, with only two murder cases so far in 2006.

The chief says the department’s beefed-up presence on the streets has made all the difference.

The department is also taking steps to make the city a safer place by building relationships with the community's children.

The student resource officer program, now in its second year, has created eight officer positions, and put them in the schools.

They have started programs that have improved youth-police relationships and in some cases even formed friendships.

The police department is not the only place that is seeing change.

Major efforts to clean up the city's residential areas and downtown district are underway.

With an increase in manpower, newfound stability at the police department, and major rehabilitation planned for downtown Benton Harbor, Chief Mingo is singing a new song.

In addition to their new student resource officers, the police department now has a dedicated drug task force.

The chief says those officers have done a great deal to crack down on drug dealing in the city.

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