A Detroit business association has begun hiring off-duty police officers as a private police force to deal with quality-of-life issues that rarely get the attention of an agency swamped in murder cases.
The Jefferson East Business Association set aside $200,000 a year ago to hire two off-duty officers and a squad car for 40 to 60 hours a week to deal with bar fights, open-air drug dealing, and other crimes, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The initiative will play a role in the reshaping of the Detroit Police Department, following the appointment of a city emergency manager who will restructure the nearly bankrupt city.
Budget cuts are looming for the Detroit PD and officers are working 12-hour shifts at lower pay. In January, Interim Chief Chester Logan announced the agency would eliminate its gang and tactical units to shift 100 officers to homicide, criminal investigations, and traffic enforcement.
In March, elected leaders announced the Detroit One crime initiative, which sets the goal of reducing gun-related violence by 25% in one year. At the same time, the Detroit Three automakers donated 100 new patrol cars to the department.