- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Steven Bogdalek, who began his career with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Detroit, has returned to the city, where he’s the new special agent in charge of the Detroit field division.

Bogdalek, who has been with the agency for 27 years, came back to Detroit this month from California, where he served as special agent in charge of the Los Angeles field division for two years.

“L.A. is a unique place similar to Detroit, very high crime but lots of law enforcement resources. Detroit is a little bit reverse of that,” he told the Detroit Free Press ( https://on.freep.com/1eaNzZP ). “They have a very high level of violent crime, but very low resources, so I felt like this was an opportunity for me and ATF to, you know, engage the community, engage the city and the other law enforcement entities here and see if ATF could do its part in helping the city of Detroit make a turnaround.”

Bogdalek said he grew up in Illinois and studied criminal justice at Michigan State University, where he also played football.

He began his career with the agency in 1987 as a special agent in Detroit, where he was assigned to an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which investigated drug and firearms trafficking organizations in the city.

In 1998, Bogdalek became the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s field office in Toledo; in 2000, he went to the agency’s headquarters to serve as branch chief of the firearms enforcement branch; in 2002, he became the assistant special agent in charge of the St. Paul, Minn., field division, and, in 2012, was appointed special agent in charge in Los Angeles.

This month, he came back to Detroit, where, according to the agency, he oversees 10 field offices, three satellite offices, 118 employees, 20 task force offices, seven contractors and is responsible for all administrative, operational and personnel matters.

Bogdalek said he plans to do an internal assessment; provide support and leadership for the division, and continue working on partnerships with the leaders of other agencies, including the Detroit Police Department, which he said is “in very capable hands” with Chief James Craig, who took over the department in July. Craig, who started his career in 1977 with the Detroit department, spent 28 years with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Bogdalek said the federal agencies in Detroit have strong leadership and have recognized that “partnering with the Detroit Police Department and bringing federal resources . to assist the Detroit Police Department in reducing violent crime is one small thing that, you know, we all could do collectively that has a big impact in the city.”

He said community involvement also is important to having effective law enforcement strategies. Bogdalek said there is often a stigma associated with speaking out.

“Many times in these communities that are torn by violence, people are afraid to speak out because they don’t want to be retaliated against,” he said. “And so part of our strategy is to support the communities and the spiritual leaders and get them to encourage the community, No. 1, and themselves to be more vocal about things that they see and hear.”

Another challenge, Bogdalek said, is identifying the people committing the most violent crimes.

He said that “at the end of the day, we have to identify the worst of the worst and, you know, give people hope that, you know, at some point if they speak out or speak up that law enforcement will do something about what’s going on in their neighborhood and make their neighborhood safer.”


Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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