Anthony Adams says that in addition to reducing crime he will protect seniors and “empower” Detroit. (Courtesy photo)

Veteran Detroit politician Anthony Adams launched his run for Detroit mayor, casting himself as a reform-minded candidate who would overhaul police priorities.

The city of Detroit needs to change “the whole notion of what policing is,” Adams said, during his livestream announcement on Tuesday.  Here’s a link to his announcement.


Adams, 65, said police reform and reducing crime is the top issue he would address as mayor. Detroit often ranks high among U.S. cities in violent crime rates, according to various FBI statistics. 

“We got to refine how we approach the issue of what laws we actually enforce,” he said. 

“A lot of things are crimes, but are the result of poverty, whether it’s prostitution, homeless, vagrancy. The police don’t really need to be addressing those types of issues. We need the police to be more impactful in terms of addressing serious crimes.

“We need to begin to decriminalize a lot of conduct in our city to put us in a position to put  people on pathways to productive citizenships.”

Adams said the core issue is poverty. “We need to have much more progressive attitudes  in terms of how to engage the people within our community. We got to [get] more resources out into the community, community intervention specialists who will address and meet with victims of crime or possible perpetrators of crime.

Related: Mike Duggan to run for third term as Detroit mayor

“If we don’t move forward with a much more aggressive strategy, and how we address the underlying issues of crime. We can never get to a core result. “ 

Other top priorities

Adams lists other top priorities as focusing more on the needs of the city’s growing senior population and putting more emphasis on the economic and housing needs of neighborhoods. “Too many people have been locked out, taxed out, moved out and kicked out,” Adams said. 

Adams’ background

Adams’ political career in Detroit stretches back to the time of Coleman A. Young, when Adams was an executive assistant to the former mayor. He served as deputy mayor in the Kwame Kilpatrick administration. He is a former president of the Detroit public school board and interim director of the city’s Department of Water and Sewerage.

He has a bachelor’s degree in urban management and planning from the University of Cincinnati and a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Louis Aguilar is BridgeDetroit’s senior reporter. He covered business and development for the Detroit News, and is a former reporter for the Washington Post.

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