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Detroit Commissioner to Head Police

July 12, 2001

DETROIT (AP) _ The fire commissioner was picked Thursday to head Detroit’s police department, which is under federal investigation for deadly civilian shootings, its treatment of inmates and wholesale arrests of homicide witnesses.

Charles Wilson was named to the post by Mayor Dennis Archer.

``We are going to do all that we can within the next five months to make necessary changes so when the next administration comes in there will be less to have to be done,″ said Archer, who is not seeking re-election.

Wilson was named fire commissioner 18 months ago amid a probe into allegations of sexual discrimination brought by female employees of the Fire Department. He is a former assistant police chief.

Wilson, 54, said he wants to shift the police department from a law enforcement agency to a community service-based agency.

``These are my roots,″ he said. ``I think they’re a quality police department. I know that I have the opportunity to improve a quality department.″

Wilson, a brigadier general with the Army Reserve, joined the Police Department in 1974. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

He succeeds Benny Napoleon, who announced his resignation in May, citing Archer’s decision not to seek re-election as the main reason.

Detroit’s crime rate has fallen sharply during Napoleon’s three years in office, and the city is no longer the car-theft capital of America.

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