Black Michigan Police Chief Adjusts To His New Environment

Chief William T. Riley III hopes to revolutionize policing in Michigan.

It’s already been ten months since William T. Riley III was appointed as Chief of Police in Inkster, Michigan. He was to rebrand the majority-white police force so that the State would once again be safe from brutal and racist cops.

On his first day at work, the stern police chief strictly warned his officers, saying, “It would not bother me one iota if I had to fire every one of you. I don’t owe you nothing. So don’t screw up.”

Riley was hired from his post as police chief of Selma to replace Vicki Yost, who resigned just after the city settled a $1.38M lawsuit with an African-American brutalized by a 49-year-old white officer, William Melendez. The situation was drastic, citizens of color have lost their trust into police and the decision was made to diversify law enforcement at the highest level.

So far, Riley has been working relentlessly to rebuild trust between citizens and the police union. At the moment we can not report any dramatic changes.

As Rome wasn’t built in a day, Riley said in an interview that, “Fixing this all isn’t going to be easy”, but with the cooperation of officers, they can all recreate a better Michigan.

The pressure on Riley is huge; he stands alone against his department and a lot depends on how strong he will turn to be. Some officers should have been fired long ago.

One man cannot do all, but we wish William T. Riley III the best of luck in teaching Michigan police to respect citizens of all colors.

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