Detroit plan calls for investing millions in fire department, EMS

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By Gina Damron and Elisha Anderson
The Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — Millions of dollars would be reinvested into Detroit’s public safety departments under a proposed adjustment plan for the beleaguered city.

A disclosure statement filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, along with the city’s plan of adjustment, proposes reinvesting millions to improve operating performance and infrastructure in the police and fire departments.

According to the statement, between this fiscal year and fiscal year 2018, the city would spend an additional $114.2 million on the police department and an additional $82.1 million on the fire department, which includes EMS, on fleet improvements, facility costs and technology.

The police and fire departments have been plagued by aging fleets, broken equipment, obsolete technology and slow response times. The police department has also struggled with low case clearance rates, while firefighters are often forced to purchase supplies not provided by the department.

To combat the police department’s problems, the plan proposes investments that would reduce response times to the national average; improve case clearance rates; update the fleet and facilities; improve technology systems; become compliant with two federal consent degrees, which the city has been under for more than a decade; improve morale; and overhaul the department’s organization.

Since taking over the department in July, Detroit Police Chief James Craig has already made sweeping changes, including eliminating 12-hour shifts and overhauling the administrative staff. The department also is using CompStat, a crime statistics reporting system; plans to deploy detectives in each of the precincts by the end of the first quarter this year; and plans to hire 150 new police officers by the end of the second quarter.

The statement released today says the police department has identified “a fully-integrated public safety solution that can provide DPD, DFD and EMS with integrated computer aided dispatch, records management and reporting.”

According to the statement, reinvestment over the next 10 years will also include spending just over $18 million on the build out of new precincts and a training facility, as well as other facility and precinct improvements. The department would spend more than $38 million on technology infrastructure, including replacing hand-held radios and implementing a “fully integrated Public Safety IT system.”

Under the plan, the department would also implement a three-year fleet vehicle replacement cycle; spend money on replacing Tasers, vests and body cameras; and expects to hire 250 civilian employees and redeploy sworn officers. According to the statement, the number of employees in the department would increase to 2,895 by 2018.

The department would save $10.5 million on facility lease terminations and is expected to make money on collections from false alarm calls and expects to save millions over a decade through attrition of senior officers and hiring of less-experienced officers, the statement says.

The plan also calls for reinvesting millions in fire and EMS between this fiscal year and fiscal year 2018 to, among other things, modernize the city’s fleet of fire vehicles and apparatus, including ladders and pumping equipment; update the department’s computer hardware and software; and improve operating efficiency.

Over the next decade, under the proposed plan, the fire department would spend $21 million on seven new firehouses; $32 million to repair existing facilities; and $19 million on fleet equipment, breathing units and gear.

The city would also start replacing 20 vehicles a year and implement a preventative maintenance program. The plan also calls for cross training first responders and firefighters.

Under the plan, the department would make more than $33 million on increased collections from additional EMS and fleet personnel and increased fire Marshall personnel. The department would also make money from the sale of closed facilities and recovery billing for false alarms, vehicle fires and auto accidents, the plan says.

According to the statement, the number of employees in the department would increase to 1,228 by 2016.

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(c)2014 the Detroit Free Press

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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