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Interest Growing In Detroit's "Project 14"

DETROIT (WWJ) - A project to entice more Detroit Police officers to live in the city they "serve and protect" celebrated its first success story on Wednesday.

Detroit Police officer William Booker-Riggs will soon move into his new home on Renfrew Road in Detroit's Green Acres community.

"This fit me and my daughter, once she gave me that approval, I was excited to go with it," said Booker-Riggs.

His 11-year-old daughter Willayjha likes the house and is looking forward to making new friends as the family moves from Southfield to Detroit.

"This neighborhood is quiet, but it seems it has a lot of kids," said Willayjha. "The houses are nice, so I'm excited."

Tony Mitchell lives across the street.

"My next door neighbor's house got broken into earlier this year," said Mitchell. "We've put up with it high into our eyes and ears to stop this riffraff from continuing on in this neighborhood. Finding this police officer moving in, we're going to have direct contact with him and to stop this."

The project called "Project 14," police code for "return to normal operation," was launched in February. The program allows officers to buy a home with a $1000 down payment. They would also have to qualify for a mortgage to cover the remaining costs.

Carla Henderson runs the city's planning department and said since Project 14 was announced, it has been attracting a lot of interest.  She said there have been 275 inquiries so far.

"It wasn't just officers.  It was wives and children of officers, firefighters and Wayne County sheriffs," said Henderson. "We sorted through that list and right now, we currently have ten officers that have selected homes."

Under the program, the homes selected by officers are refurbished free of charge thanks to Bank of America.

"What we decided to do was donate ten homes to Project 14 for police officers," said Keith Cockrell, Michigan Market President for Bank of America. "Our commitment is to renovate those homes, return them to code and neighborhood standards for police officers when they move back to the city."

Read more on this story and see photos of the home, here.

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