Safety & Accident

City Worker’s Vehicle Seized Outside ‘Crack House’

December 10, 2009

DETROIT - Detroit Water and Sewerage Department officials are investigating why a city-owned Ford Focus assigned to an upper-level security officer was briefly seized by police last month outside a known "crack house" on the city's west side, according to The Detroit News.

Police cited the city vehicle at 4 a.m. on Nov. 18. The vehicle was assigned to James Crook, water officer, but was being driven by a female later identified as his ex-girlfriend. Records obtained by Detroit News show police wrote her a ticket for not having a license, released her, and turned over the car to a water official.

George Ellenwood, a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department spokesman, described the allegations as "very serious" and said the security supervisor could face discipline up to termination.

The fact that the city vehicle was not impounded has caused some controversy, with union representatives claiming the double-standard treatment is one of the "perks" for city department managers, reported Detroit News.

"If that was a union worker who wasn't being responsible for their city car, it would have been impounded and they would have been fired," said John Riehl, the head of AFSCME Local No. 207 that represents water employees.

The car at the crack house, one of about 54 vehicles in the department fleet that some employees get for around-the-clock use, is assigned to Crook. Police reports indicate officers were following up on reports of increased drug trafficking.



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