Businesses to donate $8 million for Detroit police, EMS vehicle fleet

DETROIT (AP) - A plan to support public safety by members of Detroit's business community was announced today by Mayor Dave Bing.

The group, including billionaire businessman Roger Penske and the three domestic automakers, pledged eight million dollars for new police patrol cars and to replace the city's fleet of 23 EMS vehicles.

"This gift from the local business community provides us with a huge boost in our efforts to reduce crime and respond to emergencies faster and effectively," Bing said.

Penske and representatives of the supporting businesses were on hand for the Monday morning announcement in the Mayor's office.

"This is a win-win for the city, for the Mayor and obviously for all of the people who live in our city," said Penske, the founder and chairman of Penske Corporation.

Other donors include Quicken Loans, Inc.; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; the Kresge Foundation and Platinum Equity, LLC, which is controlled by Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons.

First Merit will serve as the financial partner in the project.

The money raised by the group will provide 100 new patrol cars and reduce emergency response times by replacing the aging fleet of EMS vehicles.

"This is going to have a tremendous impact, given that our current fleet has 250,000 to 300,000 miles on average and breaks down frequently," said Donald Austin, Detroit Fire Commissioner. "This is going to be welcome input into the city."

The new patrol cars will be expected to arrive in two to three months and the new EMS vehicles are due to arrive within about four or five months.

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