Local businesses in Detroit have teamed together and donated ambulances and police cars to the city, gratefully received by Mayor Dave Bing. He unveiled the ten new EMS ambulances as well as the 15 patrol cars in a parade, joint by various business and city leaders, as well as Penske Corp. Chairman Roger Penske. The donation was received through the Downtown Detroit Partnership.
“The vehicles are part of an $8 million donation from Detroit businesses to strengthen public safety in the city. In March, Bing announced that the city would get 23 EMS vehicles and up to 100 police patrol cars.”
It will only take another two to three months for the remaining vehicles to be delivered and operational, ready to save the lives of the people of Detroit. Clearly, no better example could be found of private and public sectors working together with and for the community. The companies who have agreed to donate understand how important it is to have strong neighborhoods and communities, which is why they invested specifically in these types of vehicles, rather than simply writing a check.
Various newspapers, both local and national have picked up on the story, as they should, and it is hoped that other businesses across the nation will take note of the importance of working for and with the community. Strong communities build strong economies, of course, but it is about businesses recognizing that they would be nowhere without these communities supporting their endeavors.
Mayor Bing is clear on how the new vehicles will be used: in support of the community.
“Officials presented the cars to the public at Hart Plaza, but Bing said the vehicles will be used in the neighborhoods, not exclusively in the city’s central business areas in Downtown and Midtown.”
The donations came after a public plea from those who have been trying to maintain the various neighborhoods in Detroit. Don Austin, Fire Commissioner, and mayor Bing had a meeting earlier in the year with a range of corporate executives. They explained that they needed more aid to ensure public safety, and how this would be beneficial for all parties involved. Clearly, the businesses listened and the existing EMS system is now back off life support, to paraphrase Don Austin. Indeed, the city will once again have a fully functional emergency response system in place as soon as the new vehicles have been delivered as well.
At present, the fleet is made up out of Dodge Chargers, Chevrolet Caprices and Ford Interceptor police cruisers. Each of these vehicles costs between $45K and $50K, as reported by the Office of Mayor Bing. The ambulance fleet is made up of Terra Stars, and these cost around $161K, taking 100 days to build just one.
James Craig, the Detroit Police Chief, also expressed not just how grateful, but how excited he is about this donation. The benefits it offers are tremendous. Naturally, they will allow emergency response services to deliver better services to the residents of Detroit, something that should be able to raise the profile of the entire city. Not just that, however. There is also the element of raising the profile of the businesses that were able and willing to participate in creating these donations. Some $8 million was raised in order to make it possible, and the companies that were involved deserve to be recognized for this. They are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Penske Corp., General Motors, Ford, The Kresge Foundation, Quicken, Shinola and Platinum Equity. Many of these companies are national players and it is hoped that their example will encourage other local and national businesses to become equally involved in supporting their communities.