Check-in with the Chief: Talking with Detroit Police Chief James E. White ahead of the NFL Draft

Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 01, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — We are exactly 24 days out from the NFL Draft in downtown Detroit and after a lot of preparation and even extra training, the city's finest is ready to answer the call.

So, I did a Check-In With the Chief NFL Draft edition.

VIDEO: Chief White talks about the three things to remember when you head to the NFL Draft in Detroit:

Chief White on top three things to remember when you head to NFL Draft in Detroit

I met up with Detroit Police Chief James White today to find out with less than a month to go before "D" Day. What is left on his checklist for safety in the Motor City.

If you look around downtown Detroit, it is obvious the NFL Draft is near.

“We remember when Detroit wasn't what it is right now, we have an opportunity to show the world on a national stage what we're about,” said Chief White.

Stages are being erected, streets are being blocked off and the Detroit Police Department is gearing up for the biggest event the Motor City has experienced since the Super Bowl.

VIDEO: Preparations are in overdrive for the NFL Draft in Detroit:

Preparations in overdrive for NFL Draft

“Are you ready?” I asked Chief James E. White.

“We are ready. We've been planning this for well over a year. We're going to execute a very sound strategy and we're super excited about the opportunity to host this amazing event,” said Detroit Police Chief James White.

Having prepared for the fireworks, the Grand Prix plus Taylor Swift and Beyonce concerts, big events are nothing new, but the NFL Draft is turning into the granddaddy of them all and preparation is key.

“How many foot soldiers should I say will be on duty for the draft?” I asked.

“A whole lot! We've got our police officers, it's what we call a restricted day, so the entire police department is working,” said Chief White.

Chief White says that assures the safety of the draft with the more than 300,000 fans, but also the neighborhoods where they will still have police runs.

“Did you do any extra training for your officers or other people on duty for this major event?” I asked.

“We do tabletop exercises to talk about how we're going to manage this process, internally we're doing things with our undercover units our officers have done major major events,” said Chief White.

Chief White says this is a win for the city and region with positivity and millions of economic benefits, but he also has an eye on potential problems that big events bring from sex trafficking to gun violence.

“We're engaged with our local, federal, and state partners, the FBI, ATF our international relationships with Canada and other parts of the world,” said White.

VIDEO: Timelapse shows NFL Draft stage construction in Detroit:

VIDEO: Timelapse shows NFL Draft stage construction in Detroit

The eyes of the world, and even the White House where Chief White was recently invited, will be watching especially following a violent Easter weekend.

“Does your ear raise up when that goes on over a weekend?” I asked.

“Well, my ear goes up when I hear about violence around this country all the time, I lose sleep thinking about the safety of our community, and I say it all the time we have had some success statistically with crime but we're not celebrating,” said White.

“We study what happens around this country and we learn from it we look at those violent episodes and what happened and crowd management,” said White.

“What do you see like when you look around yourself and you're standing here?” I asked.

“I see opportunity, I see pride and feel pride for the people who are going to be a part of this event,” said White.

Chief White has nothing but praise for the men and women of DPD who he says are in overdrive to keep people safe and he's thankful for the support from Southfield Police, Michigan State Police, the Wayne County and Oakland County Sheriff's and others.