Detroit police to use $3M in state funds to hire more officers, mental health responders
The funding will allow the department to be fully staffed early next year for the first time in many years, the mayor said
By Kara Berg
The Detroit News
DETROIT — The Detroit Police Department is hiring 25 new employees, including 14 neighborhood police officers and 11 people for the agency's mental health unit, using $3.1 million in funding allocated from the state, city officials announced Tuesday.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the addition of new officers "could not come at a better time." It will allow the department to be fully staffed early next year for the first time in many years, he said during a press conference Tuesday.
The police department's mental health team, meanwhile, will grow from 19 to 30 with the new additions funded by the state.
The 14 neighborhood police officers will be added to the team that develops relationships in communities and partner with the ShotStoppers teams working in violence prevention, Duggan said. Community policing is meant to ensure officers are familiar in the community.
"So when something comes up, the police aren't showing up for the first time, they're known in the neighborhood and they're trusted," Duggan said.
Detroit Police Chief James White said this is "historic" because it's the first time revenue sharings go directly to departments.
It "literally equates to saving lives," White said, because the mental health responders on the Crisis Intervention Team often deal with suicide calls.
White said of the 899 suicide runs DPD has gone on in 2023, they saved all but one of the people who were contemplating suicide.
"That's just incredible work," White said, while noting the increase in both mental health calls and suicide runs from last year to this year.
In 2023, the police department has gone on more than 8,000 mental health runs, compared to 7,700 in 2022. There were 778 suicide runs last year, compared to nearly 900 this year.
This is the first time a portion of the state budget is allocated towards public safety, according to DPD. Despite the vacancies that exist right now, White said he is confident the new positions will be able to be filled.
The department had 300 openings last year, but $10,000 raises led to recruiting increases and the return of some officers who left. Now, DPD has 150 vacancies.
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