08/30/2005

Detroit to lay off 150 officers, merge precincts

By JoANNE VIVIANO
Associated Press Writer

DETROIT- Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, dealing with a budget crunch, announced plans Monday to lay off 150 police officers and merge the city's 12 police precincts into six district stations.

In addition, the department's command staff will be downsized. Bully-Cummings said that meant that 35 to 40 police officers could keep their jobs.

Bully-Cummings said combining precincts will allow the department to halve the number of officers assigned to desk jobs, and add another 102 officers to its patrol force despite the layoffs.

"We took what we considered a crisis and tuned it into an opportunity," Bully-Cummings said. "In the end, even after the layoffs, we will have more officers deployed to work the streets of Detroit than we have today."

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said he expects the cuts to save the city $20 million.

City Council had requested that Kilpatrick cut $54 million from the police budget, and Kilpatrick said the rest of the cuts will come from other departments and through attrition.

Detroit currently faces a $300 million budget shortfall and a takeover of its finances by the state.

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