Detroit pays high price for arson onslaught. Detroit — Arson is a raging epidemic in Detroit, destroying neighborhoods and lives as the city tries to emerge from bankruptcy. Even amid a historic demolition blitz, buildings burn faster than Detroit can raze them. Last year, the city had 3,839 suspicious fires and demolished 3,500 buildings, according to city records analyzed by The Detroit News. Burned homes scar neighborhoods for years: Two-thirds of those that caught fire from 2010-13 are still standing, records show. "Nothing burns like Detroit," said Lt. Joe Crandall, a Detroit Fire Department arson investigator, referring to the city's high rate of arson.
The Detroit News researched arson for more than three months and found that it remains a huge obstacle to renewal efforts following bankruptcy. Few neighborhoods were untouched by arson and the entire city bears its costs. "People don't realize arson is a felony. Arson Chief Charles Simms said the city is making progress in its long struggle with arson. 'Arson is like a cancer'
Detroit plan calls for investing millions in fire department, EMS | Fire Chief. 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.
Pay cuts coming to Detroit police, fire officers - Aug. 2, 2013. The 10% cuts apply to 1,200 police lieutenants and sergeants and 400 comparable officers in the fire department. The cuts, announced this week, will take effect in September. Bill Nowling, spokesman for Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager overseeing the city's reorganization effort, said other city employees took the same 10% cut in 2012.
The cuts for these officers was delayed because of union contracts that were in effect. "We had to make this cut due to disparity between management and rank and file," said Nowling. He said the city will save $4.5 million from these latest cuts. "These pay cuts and the savings have already been baked into the budget. Related: New hockey arena still a go in Detroit Nowling said if the city is able to get the debt relief it is seeking in bankruptcy, it is possible that some of the pay cuts can be restored at the end of the year. "It's not a promise, but it's one of the things we're looking at doing," he said. After bankruptcy, few options for Detroit to grow revenue. Slash costs, fix the balance sheet and take money that was once tied to debts and spend it on police, fire and other city services. That's the premise of Detroit's bankruptcy: short-term pain for long-term benefit, and cuts for Detroit's creditors, but better outcomes for residents.
But of the $1.7 billion that Detroit's post-bankruptcy plan is expected to generate, only about $900 million comes from restructuring the city's debts. About $483 million comes from projected new revenues, $358 million from cost savings. "We don't have $1.7 billion in the bank," said former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who led the city through bankruptcy.
Simple enough on paper, but in reality? In short, it's not that easy. "It's very fragile," said Sheila Cockrel, a 16-year veteran of the Detroit City Council who is now the president of Crossroads Consulting. Why is it different now? Here's where Detroit is starting: timely reporting of revenue and expenses. Where cash comes from The big picture. Detroit's bankruptcy may lead to more chaos - latimes. Downtown Detroit in 2008. Five years later, the city is seeking bankruptcy… (Carlos Osorio, Associated…) DETROIT — Jose Covarrubias has tried to keep his small house on a semi-deserted street in southwest Detroit a bastion of calm, but it has gotten more difficult every day. He installed a chain-link fence with a lock to prevent wandering vagrants from using his yard as a short cut; someone kicked it down. He threatened to call the police on a stranger who showed up with a ladder and tried to steal his antenna; the thief laughed in his face, reminding him that police rarely have time to respond to calls that don't involve dead bodies.
He woke up Sunday to what's become a typical scene in Detroit these days — arsonists had set the house on the corner on fire, and it burned a bright, hot yellow. City unions expressed dismay at the bankruptcy, accusing the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, of rushing to file before negotiations over pension liabilities were completed. "See that one? Cuts in fire protection leading to deaths in Detroit. By Lawrence Porter 12 February 2013 Detroit firefighters battle a house fire A series of brutal budget cuts to the Detroit Fire Department and other social services by Mayor David Bing, the Detroit City Council and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is producing the foreseeable outcome: the death of Detroit residents. One tragedy follows another. Most recently, six-year-old Miguel Chavez died, in part due to a delay in the arrival of emergency services, when his family’s Southwest Detroit home caught fire.
Firefighters eventually took Chavez and his brother, Julio, to the hospital in a fire truck. Julio remains in critical condition. A week earlier, firefighters from southwest Detroit were called to fight a fire in the northwest, a distance of 18 miles, because of fire station closures. Not long before that, a 71-year-old man died in a house fire only four minutes away from a fire station recently closed. Aftermath of a residential fire in Detroit A new fight-back is required.
Detroit to cut 75 fire department jobs due to budget crisis. Sep 2, 2005 By OLIVIA MUNOZ The Associated Press DETROIT - The city said Thursday it would cut 75 more fire department jobs and deactivate some firefighting units to help address a budget crisis that also has forced reductions in the police force and other city services. The cuts are in addition to the 113 department jobs trimmed in July and come as Detroit faces a possible state takeover of its finances.
The latest cuts involve 65 firefighters and 10 battalion chiefs. ''Everyone in the Detroit Fire Department is going to have to do more work,'' Fire Commissioner Tyrone Scott said. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said the cuts amount to only $8 million of the $15 million that city council requested. Kilpatrick, a first-term mayor who is up for re-election Nov. 8, said he is not looking at any more cuts in the fire or police departments after these. ''I have to be concerned about the budget but also about public safety,'' he said. Hendrix was deputy mayor under Kilpatrick's predecessor, Dennis Archer. Detroit to cut 75 fire department jobs due to budget crisis. Detroit police struggle to protect bankrupt city. Aug 26, 2013 By Gina Damron Detroit Free Press DETROIT — Wind whipped through downed windows and the speedometer reached 90 m.p.h. as the police cruiser sped down the interstate. Weaving through traffic, Detroit Police Officers Derrick Keasley and Darius Shepherd rushed to reach other officers, who were miles away chasing down a suspect in a neighborhood off Van Dyke.
It was about 9 p.m. on a warm evening this month as the special operations officers tromped through high grass, then came to a yard, where they handily climbed a rusty chain link fence and landed next to a dilapidated and abandoned building. This suspect was gone, but the shift was hours from over. Night after night, Detroit police officers are tasked with patrolling one of the most dangerous cities in America.
Detroit, which regularly tops FBI lists ranking violent crime, logged 386 homicides in 2012, not including 25 deemed justifiable, officials have said. They patrol in run-down cruisers, sometimes with broken equipment. Fewest cops are patrolling Detroit streets since 1920s. Detroit — There are fewer police officers patrolling the city than at any time since the 1920s, a manpower shortage that sometimes leaves precincts with only one squad car, posing what some say is a danger to cops and residents. Detroit has lost nearly half its patrol officers since 2000; ranks have shrunk by 37 percent in the past three years, as officers retired or bolted for other police departments amid the city's bankruptcy and cuts to pay and benefits.
Left behind are 1,590 officers — the lowest since Detroit beefed up its police force to battle Prohibition bootleggers. "This is a crisis, and the dam is going to break," said Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. "It's a Catch-22: I know the city is broke, but we're not going to be able to build up a tax base of residents and businesses until we can provide a safe environment for them. " Police Chief James Craig acknowledges he doesn't have as many officers as he'd like. Staffing challenges Deployment shuffle. Detroit's Tech Plan Could End Dark Ages for PD | Police Records Management.
The Detroit city government that emergency manager Kevyn Orr envisions over the next decade will be a far more advanced operation, no longer limping along with outdated computers and obsolete technology that undercuts everything from accurate tax collection to real-time analysis of crime trends. With some tax information still kept on 3-by-5 index cards and police officers still handwriting reports on paper, it won’t be cheap to bring the city into today’s high-tech world.
The City of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 protection in July, citing debts and long-term obligations of about $18 billion. On Friday, Orr filed a plan of adjustment in bankruptcy court outlining major improvements to city services and how the city plans to chip away at billions of dollars in debt. Under the city’s proposal to emerge from bankruptcy, Detroit would spend nearly $150 million during the next 10 years to make up for decades of a lack of investment in technology. Upgrades for Police. NC4, Inc. | Revolutionizing Safety & Security Detroit PD planning massive technology upgrades. The Detroit Police Department is making major strides to move away from outdated technology and invest in new improvements for officers in the field. According to the Detroit Free Press, the city has plans to spend $38 million on developing police technology, which will involve a fully integrated public safety computer system. The city's new proposal will help in the recovery process from bankruptcy, and Detroit is planning to spend $150 million through the next decade to make up for the years without investing in new police technology, the source cited.
The new police equipment will range from more precise tax collection methods to real-time data for crime trends, reported Police Magazine. Several officers still fill out police reports on paper and some tax information is filed on index cards in the station, the source reported. Having access to real-time crime control tracking systems will allow officers in the field to make more accurate decisions. Bottom line after Detroit bankruptcy: 200 more police officers, 100 new firefighters. Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, lead Detroit bankruptcy mediator on adjustment plan Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, the lead bankruptcy mediator, thanks a large group of people who worked on Detroit's bankruptcy deal and sacrificed for the greater good during a press conference after U.S.
Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhode's confirmation of Detroit's plan of adjustment at Theodore Levin United States Courthouse in Detroit, Nov. 7, 2014 (Tanya Moutzalias | MLive Detroit) DETROIT, MI -- The city can now afford to hire more police and firefighters. That's the bottom line after a 16-month court process that came to a triumphant climax Friday with Detroit being authorized to shed $7 billion of debt. "There are going to be more than 200 additional police officers on the street as a result of the plan," said Mayor Mike Duggan.
Implementation of an elaborate, 10-year plan to restore long-broken city services is now possible after U.S. Others complied for fear of deeper cuts. New paramedics to help Detroit improve 911 response time. 9 ways Detroit is changing after bankruptcy. When Detroit filed for bankruptcy last July, observers around the world were shocked by how far some city services had deteriorated -- though it was no secret to residents. Average police response times clocked in at almost an hour. Tens of thousands of broken streetlights meant entire streets go dark at nightfall. And though Detroit has more than 200 municipal parks, the city could only afford to keep about a quarter of them open. How has the city changed since it entered bankruptcy? The Detroit Police Department says it is focused on hiring non-uniformed administrative staff so that it can move officers from desk duty to street patrols to concentrate on high-crime areas and react in real time to crime trends.
A nonprofit group also was set up to administer $8 million in private donations from companies including Penske Corp. and Detroit's automakers that purchased and delivered 100 new police squad cars and 23 new ambulances — a boost to a city fleet that's old and prone to breakdowns.
50 Detroiters: ‘If they could get a little more policing’