About 20 shootings in Detroit greeted the week of the unveiling of 10 new EMS ambulances and 15 new police cars to Police Chief James Craig and Fire Commissioner Donald Austin, signaling the level of public safety challenge that the city faces even as the private sector stepped in with new vehicles to help combat crime in the city.
The vehicles are the first group to be put into service, thanks to an $8 million donation from Detroit’s business community to strengthen public safety in the city. The remaining 13 EMS units are expected to be outfitted and ready for delivery before the end of this year. Another 85 patrol cars will be rolled out as the vehicles get equipped.
“Our corporate and philanthropic community stepped up to help our city in the midst of unprecedented financial challenges,” said Mayor Bing. “Reducing crime and improving emergency response times have always been a priority for my administration. The new vehicles being delivered today to the police and fire departments are state-of-the-art and will greatly improve public safety and the quality of service that we provide to our citizens.”
The 25 new public safety vehicles made their debut in a procession down Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, culminating with a news conference by Mayor Bing and Penske Corporation Chairman and Downtown Detroit Partnership Vice Chairman Roger Penske. Representatives from the corporations and foundations that contributed to the Mayor’s Active and Safe Campaign rode in the public safety vehicles.
“This is an extraordinary day for the city of Detroit,” said Roger Penske. “We are proud to offer new police cruisers and EMS units to Mayor Bing and the Police and Fire Departments. I want to offer my special thanks to the local business leaders and the Downtown Detroit Partnership for their outstanding efforts in helping us reach this milestone today. These vehicles will enhance the visibility of the police and fire efforts in the city, improve the safety and security of our neighborhoods and will provide an immediate positive impact on our city. “
The city’s entire fleet of 23 EMS ambulances is being replaced at a cost of approximately $161,000 per vehicle. The EMS units are being built by Horton Ambulance on the International Terra Star Chassis. Each ambulance takes up to 100 days to build. The Terra Star units were ordered through a local dealer.
The 100 police cruisers were acquired through local Chevrolet, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge and Ford dealerships, and a Detroit company is outfitting the vehicles according to City of Detroit specifications. The police cars cost from $45,000 to $50,000 each, depending on the make and model. The police vehicles presented today are Dodge Chargers, Ford Interceptors and Chevrolet Caprices.
In addition to Penske Corporation, the corporate and philanthropic donors working in conjunction with the Downtown Detroit Partnership are: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Chrysler Group, LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Quicken Loans, Inc., The Kresge Foundation, Platinum Equity, LLC. Shinola. FirstMerit Bank serves as the financial partner in this collaborative project.
Mayor Bing launched the Active and Safe Campaign with a goal of raising $60 million over three years for updated equipment, technology and training for the city’s first responders, as well as improved programming at Detroit’s recreation centers.