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Daniel Mendez

Detroit giving lemon police cars new life. DETROIT, MI -- Detroit police took a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, spruced it up with a shiny new paint job, and on Wednesday issued it to a neighborhood police officer to park in his Corktown neighborhood driveway. Spotting a haggard-looking Detroit police car with paint rubbed off the hoods, exposing silver metal beneath, is becoming more difficult with Detroit's increased fleet investment. The take-home project is a matter of utilizing the limited resources the department has -- 10-year-old police cruisers aren't usually a high priority in other agencies -- and increasing public visibility.

Detroit Assistant Chief James White says the department hopes to refurbish 40 cars from its aging, high-mileage fleet for similar use by neighborhood police officers who work closely with residents . The project also exhibits the ongoing police support from the Detroit business community. "All the vehicles that we're doing, they're '04 and '05 Crown Vics," Hussein said.

Report: Detroit cops working with low numbers, funding. DETROIT - The Detroit Police Department is seeing its lowest numbers since the 1920s, according to a report from The Detroit News. Currently, the city, which spans 143 square miles, is covered by 1,590 officers. In the article, police official call the dwindling force a "crisis," and they're largely unsure of how to solve it.

The Detroit News reports that the number of patrol officers has gone down by 37 percent in the past three years. Officers start at $14 an hour, but after taxes they see a little over half of that. According to the report, department protocols and the ways administrative jobs are staffed are part of the reason the patrol number is so low. In the report, the Detroit Police Commissioner said that the city needs over 500 new officers.

Of the 2,462 people who applied to join the force last year, 131 were hired. The issue again comes to light after a deadly couple of weekends in Detroit. That's accompanied by 475 non-fatal shootings. Slow response times played role in Milford party store fire. MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The Holden's Party Store in Milford suffered a devastating fire three weeks ago and response times played a part in the destruction. In a money-saving move, Milford Township contracted with the Oakland County Radio System through the Sheriff's Department to dispatch its mostly volunteer fire department on Sept. 1. The fire broke out the next morning. The deep fryers ignited and 911 was called around 5 a.m. The Fire Department however was delayed to the scene because firefighters didn't get the first alarm and most didn't get the second.

The first two-person crew made it there in 12 minutes, but it took more than a half hour for the full contingent to arrive. "You can be frustrated," said Chief Larry Wilgora. "The fact that it happened the way it did, but I can't be angry, anybody, it's technology. " Jason Holden, son and nephew of the owners of the party store, stacked salvaged brick pavers Friday and tried not to think about the costly response times.

Equipment failure delays response to Detroit blaze. Jun 25, 2013 The Detroit Free Press DETROIT — Malfunctioning equipment plagued Detroit firefighters Sunday night as they battled a blaze in a vacant four-flat building on the city’s west side. The aerial truck from Engine 40 was already out of commission when the department was called about 10 p.m. to the fire in the building at Monterey and Wildemere streets, which is near West Davison and Dexter, according to Detroit Fire Department officials. Fire had already spread throughout the building when crews arrived with a second aerial truck. It was the second time firefighters were called to the building for a fire Sunday night, according to the department. Senior Chief Douglas Lyon said the second truck broke down at the scene. “They’re getting older, and sometimes they break down,” Lyon said. Lyon estimated the breakdowns delayed the arrival of an aerial truck by about 10 minutes.

Copyright 2013 The Detroit Free Press All Rights Reserved McClatchy-Tribune News Service Join the discussion. Detroit loses 1,400 police officers in a decade, struggles to keep pace with crime. RELATED: Find details on police and crime trends in your area. DETROIT, MI - Police officers in Detroit, a city that's struggled for years to maintain services, are working as hard as ever. There just aren't enough of them. The state's largest department thinned from 3,700 sworn officers to 2003 to just over 2,700 in 2012. Today's count is 2,419. That's a 35 percent decline — more than one third — in a decade.

By contrast the state's second largest department, the Michigan State Police, lost 17 percent of officers in the past decade, according to an MLive Media Group investigation into a decade of police manpower and crime statistics. "We only have just under 1,900 actual police officers, who are the ones who will respond to your house and your crisis situation," said Mark Diaz, the police union president. Detroit currently has 16 sworn officers per square mile; Los Angeles had 25, based on 2011 FBI data. Related: Detroit hosts first recruiting fair in decade Other moves include: As Detroit breaks down, scourge of arson burns out of control. Detroit police response times down, but official numbers questioned. When state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr first pleaded with a federal bankruptcy court to help Detroit in July 2013, he made his case with sobering statistics: the city's high levels of poverty, blight and abandonment, its declining population and tax revenues, and its insane crime rate.

Orr pointed out how long it took police, on average, to get to the highest-priority crimes: Fifty-eight minutes, or nearly an hour. It was partial proof the city couldn't "meet obligations to its citizens," Orr told the court. It was a shocking number - and one repeated by Gov. Rick Snyder, the man who appointed Orr. And in December 2013 U.S. Now, nearly a year after Detroit's emergence from bankruptcy, Detroit Police Chief James Craig says response times have fallen below 15 minutes; and Mayor Mike Duggan, who loves data and scorecards, regularly touts the precipitous reduction with similar numbers. "You remember those days? A shaky benchmark Uncertain origin The meaning of "urgent" Detroit firefighters lack equipment and manpower. Fire related deaths in the Motor City approach 70 for 1998 By Larry Roberts 24 December 1998 The ability of the Detroit Fire Department to adequately fight fires and save the lives of its citizens has become a major concern for residents in Detroit, an anxiety produced by years of budget cuts by city officials.

On Thursday, December 10, at 10:50 a.m., a house fire erupted in a poor east side Detroit neighborhood, on the 20300 block of Albany Street, taking the life of three-year-old Dontez Earle. Investigators believe the fire was caused by children playing with matches. According to family members two other children were in the upstairs bedroom with Dontez when the fire broke out but escaped without injury after being rescued by their mother. At least nine family members living in the home at the time, involving three generations, were made destitute by the fire. Normally an engine and ladder truck housed in the same fire station travel together to fight a fire.