Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, center, unveils an ambitious plan by local business leaders to fund the purchase of public...
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, center, unveils an ambitious plan by local business leaders to fund the purchase of public safety vehicles for the cash-strapped city on March 25.
Photo credit: AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Coates
The new Dodge Chargers (pictured), Ford Tauruses and Chevrolet Caprices are expected to arrive within 60 to 90...
The new Dodge Chargers (pictured), Ford Tauruses and Chevrolet Caprices are expected to arrive within 60 to 90 days.
Photo credit: City of Detroit
Detroit private business, including the Penske Corporation, will donate $8 million for 23 EMS units and 100 police cruisers to boost public safety and reduce response times, Mayor Dave Bing announced this morning.
Roger Penske joined Bing this morning for the announcement, which fell on new emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr's first day. Orr was not at the press conference.
Bing said it is a coincidence that the announcement fell on Orr's first day.
"This is a perfect example of how the business community can work with our city," Penske said.
In addition to Penske Corp., the donors are: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Quicken Loans, Kresge Foundation and Platinum Equity.
Images of the new vehicles were unveiled at the press conference. The cruisers shown were Dodge Chargers, Ford Tauruses and Chevrolet Caprices. The EMS units shown were Horton Terrastar ambulances.
Penske said the cruisers will arrive within 60 to 90 days. The EMS units are expected to arrive in about 120 days.
Bing said the vehicles will not be city property. A nonprofit corporation will be formed to lease and maintain them, he said. The lease structure also helps avoid any obstacles as the emergency financial manager starts work today.
"Not knowing exactly what's going to happen now that an emergency manager is here, we want to make sure that we don't start mixing assets at this point," Bing said.
Detroit Police Officers Association President Mark Diaz welcomed the donation.
"We're thrilled that the ... private sector is taking an interest in rebuilding the city," Diaz said, adding that the key is ensuring public safety.
He said the department is "grossly under equipped."
"Anything helps," Diaz said.
He said he couldn't comment on the timing of the announcement, which was made the same day Detroit's new emergency financial manager, Kevyn Orr, started work. Diaz said he hasn't yet had a chance to meet with Orr, but is "cautiously optimistic" and hopes the new emergency financial manager is committed to rebuilding Detroit.
The union's main concern, Diaz said, is in regard to collective bargaining rights.
He said he hopes Orr recognizes that "the only way ... that the city of Detroit is going to succeed is for public safety to succeed."
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