Monday, March 16, 2015

Great Grief in Hamtramck, Michigan

In the small town of Hamtramck, Michigan, nestled next to Detroit and Highland Park, the 2.2 square mile City is grieving the removal of its popular Police Chief, Maxwell Garbarino.

The 35-year-old University of Detroit doctor of law was told by the City Manager to hand over his gun, badge, ID, and computer over a week ago, allegedly without reason other than rumored hints of Internet issues.

The following Monday the chief appeared at a City Council meeting to get answers about Garbarino's removal.  Few were revealed, although the chief was seen in a photo talking with a TV reporter speaking for himself.

When accusations are implied, one needs to speak for one's self to clear the air.

"It's like having my heart pulled out of my chest," said the decades-long security official who rose through the ranks after a decade on the beat.

However, his term ended last Wednesday when the city manager announced Garbarino's resignation.

Found among residents, at community meetings, and more, neighbors who knew their chief well are writing notes detailing their fond memories of him.

Grief is like that.

It's like the Detroit/Windsor tunnel.

Getting through it, I mean.

I look toward the light at the end of that tube.

It takes time, however.

People's hearts connect.

Humans in Hamtramck like each other.

That's how that town has flourished over decades since thousands of immigrants came to work in the auto factories there in the 50s.

Polish food, and more things Polish.

Over fifty nations are now represented in Hamtramck.

Diversity soars and people get along.

"Diversity is and isn't working," Garbarino told a crowd weeks ago in the Hamtramck Public Library.

"We get it right but not always," he confessed to crowd at a town hall meeting on Caniff Avenue, blocks east of the I-75 Interchange that included concerns about ISIS from the Global Alliance for Termination of Al Quada, also.

People are there for each other in their terrible grieving and loss.

They are.

Just as Police Chief Garbarino was there for the heart-broken community for more than a dozen years as a protector.


It may take months to recover.

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