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City officials break ground on Public Safety Headquarters

Digital rendering of the completed Detroit Public Safety Headquarters. COURTESY PHOTO

Staff report

DETROIT — Mayor Dave Bing, joined by Police Chief Ralph Godbee, Fire Commissioner Dan Austin and other city, state and federal officials, announced May 29 the groundbreaking of the city’s new multimillion dollar public safety headquarters.

Mayor Bing says the $60 million dollar project will be completed by summer 2013. Proceeds of the Unlimited Tax General Obligation Bonds issued by the city in December 2010 have been made available for the project.

The headquarters will centralize the Detroit Police Department, Detroit Fire Department, EMS, Homeland Security, the Detroit Building Authority, the Information Technology Services department and possibly the state police forensic laboratory.

Bing says he believes the commitment of the state is there to house the state forensic lab, but he will know for sure when he returns from the Mackinac Policy Conference, which concludes June 1.

“I know buildings don’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals nor do they put out fires,” Bing said. But the mayor says the headquarters will “decrease deficiencies and redefine public safety agencies.”

Many citizens have criticized the city’s use of funds for the new construction and have said city spending should go toward having more officers on the street.

Bing said because the city, state and federal officials are trying to bring as much of their public safety leadership together, the bond money was used specifically for construction and rehab and could not be used for operations.

The mayor said there are other things the city is entering into that will get more police on the street. He did not elaborate.

Addressing recent criminal activity in the city, including the shooting deaths of an 84-year-old security guard and 6-year-old child, Bing called on Detroiters to help public safety workers keep the city safe.

“I want to put out a call to the community to get behind public safety leadership to help solve crime and get ahead of what’s happening,” he said. “Citizens don’t have to walk the streets in fear.”

Using the terms, “war” and “battle,” Mayor Bing said: “We have to do this as a combined community. We need the community to step up … there’s a small group committing crimes. Let’s take this war to the street and win this war together.”

The mayor said he’s committed to winning the battle against crime.

The project is located at 1300 John C. Lodge, 1351 Third and 811 Abbott. The Lodge address is the location of the former MGM Grand Temporary Casino. The city purchased the building from MGM Grand on Aug. 3, 2011 for $6.325 million. The Third and Abbott locations were former parking facilities. The address of the new Public Safety Headquarters will be 1301 Third.

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