In a show of generosity in mid-August, Detroit's business leaders donated $8 million to the Police Department and Fire Department in order to buy 100 new police vehicles and 23 EMS ambulances. But now officers have discovered – and complained – that the police vehicles have glaring safety issues, Deadline Detroit reports. It is not made clear what models of the fleet vehicles – which include police versions of the Ford Taurus, the Chevrolet Caprice and the Dodge Charger – are affected by the safety issues.

Officers reportedly have complained that the Plexiglass partition separating front-seat officers and back-seat prisoners is easily breached, and that the front passenger seat is installed too close to the dashboard. Prisoners who manage to writhe out of their handcuffs can bend the Plexiglass and reach into the cockpit, and sitting too close to the dashboard can render airbags more dangerous and make officers more vulnerable to injury in a crash.

Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association, received the complaints and reportedly said the vehicles would get safety updates addressing the issues. But Deadline Detroit reports that it checked some of the offending police cars and, as of the last few days, they hadn't been updated.

Head below to read the August press release marking the multi-million-dollar donation and new fleet vehicles, and to watch a video of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing hand over the keys to the fire and police departments.
Show full PR text
Mayor Bing Present First Group of New Public Safety Vehicles to Police Chief and Fire Commissioner

08/22/2013 – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing today turned over the keys to 10 new EMS ambulances and 15 new police cars to Police Chief James Craig and Fire Commissioner Donald Austin. The vehicles are the first group to be put into service, thanks to an $8 million donation from Detroit's business community to strengthen public safety in the city. The remaining 13 EMS units are expected to be outfitted and ready for delivery before the end of this year. Another 85 patrol cars will be rolled out as the vehicles get equipped.

"Our corporate and philanthropic community stepped up to help our city in the midst of unprecedented financial challenges," said Mayor Bing. "Reducing crime and improving emergency response times have always been a priority for my administration. The new vehicles being delivered today to the police and fire departments are state-of-the-art and will greatly improve public safety and the quality of service that we provide to our citizens."

The 25 new public safety vehicles made their debut in a procession down Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, culminating with a news conference by Mayor Bing and Penske Corporation Chairman and Downtown Detroit Partnership Vice Chairman Roger Penske. Representatives from the corporations and foundations that contributed to the Mayor's Active and Safe Campaign rode in the public safety vehicles.

"This is an extraordinary day for the City of Detroit," said Roger Penske. "We are proud to offer new police cruisers and EMS units to Mayor Bing and the Police and Fire Departments. I want to offer my special thanks to the local business leaders and the Downtown Detroit Partnership for their outstanding efforts in helping us reach this milestone today. These vehicles will enhance the visibility of the police and fire efforts in the city, improve the safety and security of our neighborhoods and will provide an immediate positive impact on our city. "

The city's entire fleet of 23 EMS ambulances is being replaced at a cost of approximately $161,000 per vehicle. The EMS units are being built by Horton Ambulance on the International Terra Star Chassis. Each ambulance takes up to 100 days to build. The Terra Star units were ordered through a local dealer.

The 100 police cruisers were acquired through local Chevrolet, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge and Ford dealerships, and a Detroit company is outfitting the vehicles according to City of Detroit specifications. The police cars cost from $45,000 to $50,000 each, depending on the make and model. The police vehicles presented today are Dodge Chargers, Ford Interceptors and Chevrolet Caprices.

In addition to Penske Corporation, the corporate and philanthropic donors working in conjunction with the Downtown Detroit Partnership are: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Chrysler Group, LLC; Ford Motor Company; General Motors Company; Quicken Loans, Inc.; The Kresge Foundation; Platinum Equity, LLC; and Shinola. FirstMerit Bank serves as the financial partner in this collaborative project.

Mayor Bing launched his Active and Safe Campaign with a goal of raising $60 million over three years for updated equipment, technology and training for the city's first responders, as well as improved programming at Detroit's recreation centers.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      Julius
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hmm.. if it's the partition and seat install that's the problem, I'm thinking it's an aftermarket/conversion company issue, not an OEM one.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Julius
        [blocked]
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          not if a shotgun mount, computer or something else is in the way of thw seat.
      Bubba Jones
      • 1 Year Ago
      I fail to see how the upfitters bad design and poor installation is the fault of the car ???? The Caprice has PLENTY of passenger seat room (I've driven and ridden in one) unless the upfitter shoved the seat forward while installing the partition there's no reason for the seat to be "too close" to the airbag. The lack of integrity in the partition certainly has nothing to do with the car.
        Card13
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bubba Jones
        They didn't necessarily blame it on the car design. That just said it's an issue that needs to be addressed. Clearly if they claim that the issue will be fixed, there is in fact enough room in the vehicle to make it work
      ArtPosh
      • 1 Year Ago
      Look beside the Lowes on Telegraph in Pontiac. Sitting behind an old dealership are about 70 Detroit cop cars, all Fords. They have been sitting there since spring, mostly marked cars, some unmarked.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well i could not help but notice that in Tesla tread everyone pointed out that Texas is a Red State and that what conservatives stand for.............well Detroit is as blue as they come........what do you have to say now..........now you see what liberalism stand for, lazy, useless, entitled, corrupt, criminal. Why those words reminds me of someone from Mid West neck of the woods (at least so he claims).
      MarlonJBT2
      • 1 Year Ago
      The question is, are these real complaints OR just retaliation for the GPS trackers in the new cars? I live in Detroit and I've heard many officers say that they'd rather be in one of the old cars so they can't be tracked (Obviously so they can just continue to be slackers). Such a shame.
      FatManChew
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's the safety issue? The officers look at their car and see a beautiful city then drive around in the real world and fear for their lives?
      hn376rar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Beggars can't be choosers Take your "gifts" and fix it yourself!
        Mr.Roadrage
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hn376rar
        It's people like you who donate expired food to the poor.
          John
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mr.Roadrage
          Its not the cars that are the issue, its the upfitters. Cars don't come with a divider from the factory. Its installed after the fact by the choosen upfitter. I'm an automotive sales consultant with my former career being in law enforcement (injured) so I know a little about how these cars are built and upfitted.
          Neez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mr.Roadrage
          If i were poor, i'd eat "expired" food. FYI, most foods only have a sell by date, not an expiration date. And most expiration dates are for taste, foods are still edible. I still eat stuff past the sell by date. These cars are same cars that other cities are using. They are just being nitpicky, there is a reason why one company sought the need to develop a dedicated police car, to integrate everything into the dash and make them crash worthy even fully outfitted. Too bad that company went belly up. The plexiglass is an easy cheap fix, just put some steel grating over the plexiglass, they aren't going to go through that in conjunction with the plexiglass.
      FatManChew
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh look more money from private citizens that the government decided to waste on broken junk.
      Neil
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just finally seen the caprice... you can certainly see that ford and dodge have much less interior space! screw the upcoming chevy ss, id rather have a caprice! the caprice has 3.1 inches more legroom in the rear than the charger and 5.1 inches more than Taurus. as for the passenger volume the caprice has 112.0 cubic feet. that is 7.3 cubic feet more than dodge and 9.8 cubic feet more than ford. the chevy ss (formerly Pontiac g8) wont be far from the g8 which had 107.5 cu ft. my point is you have to look at what you are getting. for size, the caprice and ss wins. for reasonable space and performance the ss and charger win. the ford is a rip off. it has less power and a cramped interior. sadly, the gm models are bland in styling.
        Ford Raptor V8
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Neil
        Coming from a person who doesn't understand car logic and reasoning, only talk when you know more about the automotive industry but as of now you don't know crap.
        John
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Neil
        Hmm, less power in the Ford but faster and still meets the safety requirements all while being detroit winter friendly with its AWD. Sounds like all you're looking at are the (selective) numbers with no idea how to really put them together.
          John
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John
          I've driven my fair share of cruisers. Depending on the tires the crown vics could get stuck on ice fairly easily. The RWD chargers don't like going through deep snow (that was until we disabled the traction control). The AWD chargers do pretty good even with the traction enabled. If you go with the 3.5 EB taurus it actually does fairly well in those situations. The FWD model is also front heavy enough to do decently and it also has less power which helps. The only current cruisers I haven't driven are the Explorer and Caprice. As for size. It can depend on the upfit (some leave more room than others). I'm an average build and height and had no real issues when the proper seats were used (equipment cutouts on the bolsters). Though I do tend to agree, in general, they are rather tight.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John
          [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Neil
        [blocked]
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      The passenger seat being too close to the dash must be the Caprice. I have the same problem with my G8. Basically they are the same car.
        John
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        The G8 and caprice are very similar except for the fact that the caprice rides on a longer wheelbase with a larger interior cabin volume.
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        HINT...you can move the seat back. Im sure the issues with the police car is the because all the stuff added to the car is in the way of the seat moving back.. but who knows
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
    • Load More Comments