The Detroit Police Department will lay off 150 police officers and merge the city’s 12 precincts into six district stations in an unprecedented reorganization that will transform police services throughout the city and cut spending in the department by $20 million, Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said Monday. Bully-Cummings said the department will cut desk jobs and deploy about 100 more officers to street patrols daily, reports the Detroit News. It will eliminate the aviation and mounted police units.
The $20 million savings is $34 million less than City Council ordered cut from the Police Department, however, and raises new questions about Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s overall plan to get rid of a $300 million budget deficit. Community activists were divided on the impact of the move. Ron Scott, a member of Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said the mayor’s plan was a step in the right direction. “It’s a mess,” said Ilka LaPeer, president of Brightmore Concerned Citizens. “And response time is supposed to get better?”