Following a series of recent unarmed robberies and multiple assaults in July, the Ann Arbor Police Department has received federal funding for new technology to assist in finding perpetrators.

At its meeting last night, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted to accept and appropriate funds from a 2011 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant was awarded to the AAPD to help officers implement a new and sophisticated crime mapping dashboard called a Law Enforcement Intelligence Device, which will allow police to better identify trends in crimes, such as the times or places they frequently occur.

The LEID may also assist police in determining where and when to increase patrols in response to recent crimes close to campus. In a talk with The Michigan Daily on Sept. 2, AAPD Chief Barnett Jones and University Department of Public Safety Executive Director Greg O’Dell said their departments will be increasing their presence on and near campus.

Currently, members of AAPD staff are responsible for crime analysis, crime mapping and generating statistics. However, the new software will grant patrol officers, investigators and police managers real-time availability to the information, rather than having to wait for statistics and maps to be generated by staffers.

The AAPD grant application notes that the total cost of purchasing and implementing the LEID is $48,514. The grant awarded the city $27,996, and the remaining $20,518 for the device will come from state or federal forfeiture funds that the AAPD has already budgeted for.

Medical marijuana licensing board appointments confirmed

Ann Arbor residents and City Council members discussed last night a recent state appellate court ruling regarding the 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and how it will affect the city’s newly formed medical marijuana dispensary licensing board.

The council voted unanimously to confirm Mayor John Hieftje’s appointment of Ann Arbor residents John Rosevear, James Kenyon and Patricia O’Rorke to the board, but many members expressed concern about whether dispensaries would be allowed to operate in the city following the court ruling. On Aug. 22, a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act makes the use of medical marijuana legal but does not permit its sale.

Council member Tony Derezinski (D–Ward 2) questioned whether it would be advisable to continue appointing individuals to the board following the court ruling.

City Attorney Stephen Postema responded to Derezinski by noting that the city’s medical marijuana dispensary licensing ordinance only grants licenses to dispensaries if they are compliant with state law. However, now that the appeals court ruling has ruled the sale of medical marijuana illegal, the city might want to reconsider moving forward with the licensing board, Postema said.

Washtenaw County resident Shelly Smith said the appeals court ruling contradicts the will of Michigan voters. In 2008, Michigan residents voted 63 to 37 percent to allow the sale of medical marijuana.

“Democratically, we voted for the safe access to this naturally powerful medicine,” Smith said. “The decision is already made. We shouldn’t make the access difficult.”

-Tianyu Tang contributed to this report.

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