LeDuff: Detroit public safety still facing extreme cuts - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

LeDuff: Detroit public safety still facing extreme cuts despite grant

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Detroit Police Officer Kendra Coleman told Charlie LeDuff about her job expectations.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Detroit Police Officer Kendra Coleman told Charlie LeDuff about her job expectations. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

The good news: The federal government comes through with a $22-million grant restoring 108 of the 164 Detroit firefighters laid off earlier this week.  The bad news: Public safety in the city is still facing extreme cuts with no plan to make things better.

Detroit Police officer Christine Thomas and her partner helped bring little Siri into the world late Saturday night when they saw her mother laboring on the side of a Detroit road.

"That night I would've been in serious trouble, I believe, had they not been there for me," said Kendra Coleman.

"She looks wonderful.  I'm glad that I was right there," said Thomas.

But now with impending cuts to public safety, children like Siri may not be so lucky.

"We have to do more work even with lower pay because we're being told that we got to ride the buses to keep the bus drivers safe.  We got to look at the party stores and the gas stations, plus answer runs, so we don't have time to investigate anything.  We have to just do reports, be secretaries on the street," Thomas said.

Now the drastic budget cuts are supposed to take effect on Sunday, except the police union has it tied up temporarily in court.  If they do go through, here is what you can expect.  The police will show up to work and do it by the book.  That means if a guy's got a suspended license, he's going to be arrested, brought to the precinct and processed.  That takes three hours.  That means there will be no police patrolling the streets.  How's that supposed to work?

"You can't cut your way out of this problem.  First of all, you've got to improve city services.  That's the goal, right?  And Dave Bing took office saying that's what he wanted to do, but the way to do that is to get these efficiencies, stop paying for things that we can't afford and start paying for the things we're supposed to do, and he hasn't done it," said Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson.

"There's no plan.  It's crisis management.  Whatever pops up we're going to deal with today," said DFFA President Dan McNamara.

"We need more officers, not less officers.  People need help out here," Coleman said.

Who's in charge of public safety in Detroit?  Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis.  I wanted to ask him who is making all these decisions, but I couldn't get a hold of him.  I will, though, I promise, because it's a matter of life and death.

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