Business leaders give Detroit $8M for new ambulances, police cars

Mayor says vehicles will increase efficiency and quality of life for residents

DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Monday said local business leaders have come up with $8 million to buy the city ambulances and police patrol cars.

Bing said the money from leaders within the Downtown Detroit Partnership will get the city 23 new EMS rigs and 100 police cars.

"Working together we can transform our city," Bing said.

The announcement came on the same day bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr began his first day on the job as Detroit's emergency manager. Orr has taken over the finances of the largest city in the country to come under state oversight.

According to Bing, the timing of the announcement was a coincidence.

Roger Penske said he and his business counterparts are committed to the city and felt strongly about coming up with a way to help it.

"We can work together and drive positive momentum in our city," Penske said.

The donors are:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Chrysler Group, LLC; Ford Motor Company; General Motors Company; Quicken Loans, Inc.; The Kresge Foundation; Penske Corporation; and Platinum Equity, LLC.  In addition, FirstMerit Bank will serve as the financial partner in this collaborative project.

READ: Quotes from participating companies in Detroit donation

The cars and EMS rigs are being specialty built. Penske said the patrol cars will be done within 60 to 90 days and the EMS rigs between 120 and 150 days.

The announcement was welcomed by the Detroit Fire Department and the Detroit Police Department, which both have aging vehicle fleets.

"After years of challenges with aging EMS units that rotate in and out of service, a brand new fleet of ambulances will allow us to provide a higher level of emergency services to Detroit's citizens," Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said in a statement.

Monday's announcement follows Bing's introduction last week of the Detroit One initiative, which brings together local, state and federal law enforcement and the community in an effort to reduce violent gun crimes in the city by 25-percent this year. 

READ: 'Detroit One' plan aims to cut down on violent crime

Special section: Detroit in Crisis

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