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Business Leaders Pledge $8M For Detroit Police, EMS Vehicles

DETROIT (WWJ) - Mayor Dave Bing has announced big plans to work with Detroit businesses to provide more ambulances and police cars for the city.

Private business, including the Penske Corporation, will donate $8 million toward the purchase of 23 EMS units and 100 police cruisers to boost public safety and reduce response times, Bing said.

Among those spearheading the effort is  businessman Roger Penske who joined Bing what the mayor called an "unprecedented announcement" Monday morning.

Project donors also include Detroit's automakers, Quicken Loans and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Penske said it's their goal to have the new police cars on the streets within 60-90 days. "We've talked to the manufacturer  -- and these are special-built vehicles, so, they have to be specked and built on line," said Penske. "And then the electronics ... We want to look at the best electronics that are available in the industry for Detroit."

Penske said the EMS units will hopefully be up and running in the city within 120-160 days.

Detroit police officer Lonnie Wade is impressed.

"It's a good idea .... I applaud Dave Bing for it. If he supervised that, that was good; that's a good move," said Wade. "To have the community help with vehicles and any other thing they wish to help with -- we'll take it."

Bing's news comes the same day a state-appointed emergency financial manager starts work in the city.  Bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr has said nothing is off the table as he works on a plan to dig out of a $300 million hole.

Speaking to reporters early on his first day on the job, Orr was asked about this commitment from business leaders.

"I can't tell how encouraging it is and just how optimistic that these city fathers -- fathers and mothers, excuse me -- would come together on that initiative," Orr said."We'll pursue those as well for other services."

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