Detroit's EM says he wants to pump money into public safety - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Detroit's EM says he wants to pump money into public safety

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Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr speaks at a news conference on Friday. Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr speaks at a news conference on Friday.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Kevyn Orr has been riffling through Detroit's pocketbook, and what is inside the city's coin purse is not pretty.

You would think the emergency financial manager would say fixing the Motor City's finances is his chief priority. It is, but that priority has a twin, and its name is public safety.

"Is it conceivable that when you walk down the street you see police cars with 200,000 miles on them and the paint is delaminating? I saw one without a bumper the other day. That's our police cars. Is it conceivable that you want to live in a city where the response times if you have a heart attack or you make a call are deadly?" Orr said.

His assessment of the situation shows what is going on with the boys in blue in black and white. For instance, in the 5th Precinct, response time is way worse than it was last year, up 99.46 percent. Instead of waiting about 40 minutes for DPD, now you are waiting more than an hour and 15 minutes.

At the 8th Precinct, what Orr's numbers reflect is unacceptable. Last year, citizens waited around 40 minutes for a cop to come. Now try more like close to two hours. That stat a staggering jump of 185.31 percent.

These numbers are for high priority runs.

"Manpower is a central issue to many of the problems that we have. If we're having difficulty providing services, it's not because we don't want to or we're not trying, it's usually because we're challenged in our resources," said Inspector Nick Kyriacou from the Central District.

"The normal that they've gotten used to is going to change, and those things, the investments we need to make so that those things change, so that police can act like police, so that EMTs come when you call them," Orr said.

Orr is talking about pumping money into public safety and not continuing the path of stripping them down to the bone.

"That's a very good thing to hear because the number one concern in any major metropolitan area, particularly here, is public safety," Kyriacou said. "That's what we have to get on top of, in order to have the quality of life we need, in order to keep businesses coming into the city and to retain the viable ones, retain good residents and get more, is to have a safe environment for people to live, work and play in."

Citizens we talked with believe in what Orr is saying, and they believe change is coming. Until then, they will do whatever is possible to make their neighborhoods safer.

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