In 1999, Detroit police officers began moving out of the city after the state revoked mandatory residency for municipal employees. Today, 53 percent of Detroit’s 2,845 police officers live outside of the city.
But now, Bing plans to lure 200 Detroit police officers back to live in the city through a plan that will offer them renovated homes for as little as $1,000. This plan is part of Bing’s Public Works Program, which aims to move residents from dangerous areas to safer ones with better city services. The renovated homes will be located in the East English Village and Boston-Edison neighborhoods, which are considered the safest areas in Detroit.
To do this, Bing will use $30 million from the Neighborhood Stabilization fund to renovate 200 homes with forgivable loans and no down payments for Detroit police officers. Each home will receive $150,000 worth of renovation, and will be energy efficient. Officers who accept the incentives and move into a renovated house will be required to live there for a period of time that was not specified on Monday, or they will lose the incentives.
Detroit police officers and city residents alike have expressed positive opinions of the new plan. In fact, 50 officers inquired about the plan by Monday evening. Officer William Booker-Riggs, who currently lives in Southfield, plans to accept the offer and move back to Detroit.
Officers who are already living in Detroit will receive the same incentives as those officers who are being lured back to the city if they agree to move to one of the two neighborhoods.
“It’s good to serve where you live,” said Detroit police officer Yolanda Sharpe, a 13-year veteran who lives in the city.
In addition to officers and residents, the Detroit City Council is enthused about the prospect of safer neighborhoods due to more police officers living in the area as well.
“Anytime we have people moving to Detroit, it’s a great thing,” said Councilman James Tate. “The challenge will be making the move worthwhile to police officers. We definitely want to look at how City Council can help and make this plan as efficient as possible.”
The next step is to offer the same incentives to city firefighters. Bing says he’ll “beg for additional dollars” to make it happen, and firefighters have been receptive to the idea.
“We’re excited that the mayor is looking at positive avenues,” said Dan McNamara, president of the firefighters union.
Bing has high hopes that this new plan to move Detroit police back to the city will act as a model for others to live where they work in order to produce better neighborhoods.
“We hope this serves as a call to action for other corporations, organizations and individuals to live where they work,” said Bing. “Detroiters want to live in safe, clean neighborhoods. They deserve nothing less.”