Forfeiture funds bring city youths, officers together

Photo by Chris Jackett

Photo by Chris Jackett


The current scoreboard at Melvindale High School will be replaced this summer, paid for by drug forfeiture funds collected by the Melvindale Police Department. The new scoreboard will be slightly bigger and include an anti-drug message along the bottom.

By CHRIS JACKETT
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – Local children are benefiting the most from drug forfeiture funds the Police Department received from a $1.2 million July 2009 semitrailer bust.

The department was awarded $1.08 million by Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in November and already is working to create programs that build better relations between officers and area young people while spreading an anti-drug message.

Four uses of the forfeiture funds are in place, the most noticeable of which will be Melvindale High School’s new stadium scoreboard.

“Just a scoreboard with an anti-drug message and our logo,” Police Chief Rick Cadez said. “We’re hoping that it’s (up) before the football season.”

The new scoreboard will be similar to the current one, but a little bigger. It will feature the Police Department’s logo in the lower left corner, along with a message expected to read “Say yes to life, say no to drugs” printed along the bottom.

The new scoreboard will take a few weeks to install; the cost of nearly $13,000 will come from forfeiture funds.

Also expected to be constructed this summer is a new $50,000 four-lane gun range below the police station to replace the current four-lane range in the same location.

“We’re tearing the old one out and putting the new one in,” Cadez said.

The first purchase with the drug forfeiture funds was a Ford Mustang patrol vehicle in March, Cadez said. The Mustang is used primarily to help the department’s community patrol office connect with children in Melvindale-Northern Allen Park Public Schools.

“Get the kids comfortable with the police, that’s our goal,” Cadez said.

One of the most visible uses of the drug forfeiture funds this summer is the community pool between the station and the high school, which typically costs $2 per day to use.

The fund will support a program this summer that will open the pool for free to all public school-aged children, including nonresidents, from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays.

An officer also will give drug education lectures from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the pool to support the “Jump into the pool, not into drugs” program.

“Just trying to connect with the kids,” Cadez said.

Once the city’s new skate park opens near the pool at the end of this month or in early August, department officials expect to use the forfeiture funds for a sign there as well, Cadez said.

(Contact Chris Jackett at cjackett@bewickpublications.com)

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