Welcome to the post-apocalypse cityscape of Detroit - before the apocalypse happens.
The men and women of the Detroit Police Department believe the city is too dangerous to enter, and they want citizens to know it.
Detroit Police Officer Association (DPOA) Attorney Donato Iorio said officers are holding the "Enter At Your Own Risk" rally at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Comerica Park to remind the public that the officers are overworked, understaffed, and at times, fearful for their lives.
"Detroit is America's most violent city, its homicide rate is the highest in the country and yet the Detroit Police Department is grossly understaffed," Iorio told WWJ's Kathryn Larson. "The DPOA believes that there is a war in Detroit, but there should be a war on crime, not a war on its officers."
Iorio says the once 2,000 strong force is shrinking rapidly; since the start of summer, hundreds of officers have left the department.
"These are the men and women who we look to protect us... and police officers can't protect you if they're not there. Officers are leaving simply because they can't afford to stay in Detroit and work 12 hour shifts for what they are getting paid... These police officers are beyond demoralized, these officers are leaving hand over fist because they can no longer afford to stay on the department and protect the public," he said.
And that's why Iorio cautions those who enter the city to be wary.
Where is Robocop when we need him?
Of course, this should be seen as something of a negotiating ploy by the union, but the truth isn't far off. With fewer officers on the streets, criminals are acting with more and more impunity. And given the state of the city's finances, this situation is not going to turn around anytime soon.
I suppose it's time to redo that Chrysler commercial about Detroit being "back."