Detroit police chief says he's working on improving response time

James Craig says he's putting more officers on streets, prioritizing runs

DETROIT – New Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he's making sweeping changes to improve emergency response time. He says estimated times of 50 minutes or more have to stop immediately. 

At his weekly media briefing on Thursday, Craig said that he is putting 175 more officers back on the streets to respond to emergencies.

The officers were assigned to a special operations unit. 

Craig says he's also bringing back the department's "Tactical Services Section" that can respond to crime hot spots in short order. 

The department's communication section is working with it's radio manufacturer to find make sure dispatchers can speak to a caller to 911 and forward information to officers at the same time.

Calls to 911 will be prioritized to dispatch police to emergencies first and non-emergencies later. 

Craig said that eventually citizens will be able to file police reports online instead of waiting for an officer to respond to their home for non-emergencies. 

Craig said he'd like to see response times drop to 7 or 8 minutes right away.

Craig also said he and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr have worked out funding for 256 new bullet proof vests for officers whose vests expired.

Craig is also looking for federal money to get the department's helicopter back in the air.