Detroit, MI – Bishop Edgar L. Vann II, Chairman of Vanguard Community Development Corporation announced today plans to sustain the MADE Men (Men Affirming Discipline and Education) initiative that was born last summer in response to the bus stop shooting near the Cody Ninth Grade Academy.
He was joined by several MADE Men, Detroit Police Chief Ralph L. Godbee Jr., Detroit Public Schools Inspector General John Bell, Detroit Public Schools Regional Superintendent Derrick Coleman, Detroit Public Schools Chief of Police Roderick Grimes, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge William Temple, Assistant United States Attorney Terrence Haugabook, and Consulting Program Director for Wayne Mediation Center’s Truancy Prevention Mediation Program, Susan Butterwick.
“Our children’s safety and their ability to learn without fear of coming to school should be our first consideration when we talk about school governance,” said Vann. “We are very appreciative of the support provided by Detroit Public Schools under Robert Bobb’s leadership, by the Detroit Police and Chief Godbee, who stood with us last year and helped champion the initiative, by the Department of Justice, and especially by our volunteer men who provided invaluable service to our community. We are using this announcement as a call to action for more MADE Men to come forward if it is in their heart to help keep our kids safe,” he said.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph L. Godbee was on board for MADE Men from the beginning as a volunteer trainer.
“As a life-long Detroiter, I know how important it is to invest in our community and in our youth,” Chief Godbee said. “Strengthening grass-roots relationships between the Detroit Police Department, citizens, volunteers, community and faith based organizations will only fortify us in our collective efforts toward keeping our youth safe this school season,” he said.
“Parents frequently tell me that improving safety and security is their top concern – even above academics, which we know is a critical issue,” said Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools. “The district has invested in a $41.7 million security initiative, and we are building a new Public Safety Headquarters and Command Center to dramatically improve our policing capabilities. But we know that keeping schools safe requires a community effort. The MADE Men are an excellent frontline resource to act as the eyes and ears of our schools. We applaud their efforts,” he said.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Thomas Brandon said that “ATF commends the tenacity and effort of the MADE Men. MADE MEN’s support of the law enforcement community is appreciated and necessary. We understand that we can’t always arrest our way out of crime and we need more community involvement and intervention. The MADE MEN is a perfect illustration of such involvement. Community services such as the MADE MEN and community outreach programs like the ATF GANG RESISTENCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING (G.R.E.A.T) PROGRAM are vital in the enrichment and growth of youth in our community.”
Upwards of 75 volunteers were recruited last year and provided enough manpower to patrol two to four schools, five days per week, including Osborn High School and Brenda Scott Middle School. “Regardless of the weather, we were out there providing a sense of stability and authority to the kids. They learned to trust us and believe that we were there for them,” said MADE Men Executive Director James Booker, a retired Detroit Police Officer. Volunteers including David Dailey, Curtis Cartwright, Kenneth Grimes and George Stewart intervened in a knifing incident where a middle school student was trying to protect herself from a group of adults; a gang initiation where a young student innocently waiting for the bus was being targeted for a beating; and apprehended a young person with a shot gun outside a school. “We worked with law enforcement as the eyes and ears and responded where necessary. If we weren’t patrolling when these incidents occurred, the results could have been deadly,” said Booker.
MADE Men volunteers are screened with thorough background checks and receive training from current and retired Detroit Police Officers. Uniform shirts and hats are provided. Shifts are available both before and after school. Interested persons should call James Booker at 313.872.7831. Organizational and public relations services were donated by Peggy Goodwin of The Goodwin Co. ~ www.goodwinconsulting.us.