Serious, humorous, and grateful were the tones displayed when Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue spoke to 30-some representatives of mostly nonprofit groups during the meeting of the Inter-Club Council at the Woman's Club on Friday.
The gratitude came first, when O'Donohue took several minutes to thank Royal Oak voters for passing the millage. One result of that approval is making it possible for the Police Department to begin recovering from staffing cuts which had been deep enough to halt some operations. The serious came when the chief described that rebuilding process as complex and slow, but "We're not complaining. It's a good problem to have. The mood is optimistic.." As the nearby photograph reveals, the chief appeared almost prayerful as he thought before answering a question. The humorous came in moments like when -- while citing statistics which reflect a downward trend in crime -- he revealed "a 100 percent rise in armed robbery . . . from 1 to 2."
It happened that newly elected District Judge Derek Meinecke and School Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin were present, and there was banter and informative exchanges among the three public officials about topics like police-court cooperation and domestic violence-training and the role of traditional friendly and advisory police presence in Royal Oak schools long before the recent massacres. During the exchanges Judge Meinecke took the opportunity to invite the public to visit the court, "preferably on Wednesday morning when probation matters are the focus." He promised visitors "a good seat, but not in the box."
During the Q&A discussion of the role of the police in dealing with mentally ill people, O'Donohue was understanding but quietly emphasized, "When facing a 300-pound man with a knife . . . “
The Police Department’s role, he made clear, is “To keep Royal Oak safe.”