In recent years, our nation has faced many challenges, the likes of which most of us have not seen previously. In battling through these trying times, few major cities have faced the brunt of these challenges more than Detroit. Far too many Detroiters have lost their jobs and their homes, and too many businesses have closed their doors.
However, today is not about focusing on what is lost. It is about creating a future. Based on the viable resources we possess, we can and will create a future with passion and strength true to the lifeblood of Detroiters.
Since entering office in January 2010, I have been steadfast regarding the accomplishment of three priorities that will create the environment for residential growth and thriving Detroit businesses:
- Improving public safety via a three-prong approach that will reduce police response time, increase police presence in the neighborhoods and aid community policing.
This will be accomplished through, but not limited to, first, maximizing the Detroit Police Department (DPD) Secondary Employment off-duty police officer program to be used voluntarily by businesses and community groups for private security; second, passing an ordinance requiring alarm companies to verify an actual emergency before the dispatching of first responders by DPD; and third, civilianizing DPD administrative and support staff which will increase patrols by a minimum of 600 officers.
- Enhancing education through collaborations and partnerships with government entities, non-profits, businesses and community groups that will improve the environment in and around the schools.
- Balancing the budget by focusing on core city services and reducing, consolidating or eliminating non-essential services; partnering on a realistic deficit elimination plan; and joining forces with the mayor's office to create a business environment that allows entrepreneurs and corporations to flourish in Detroit.
We've made progress in these areas, but much work still remains.
Transforming Detroit is not a short-term process. It will not be easy. It will take significant effort from those who care enough to invest our best in the city's revitalization. We must all work together to conquer the challenges ahead. Again, this is not going to be easy.
But I say never, ever bet against Detroit!
I encourage Detroiters and those who love Detroit to join me in sharing this vision so we may move forward to build the future together.
I look forward to blogging on Huffington Post and engaging with you.
Follow Gary A. Brown on Twitter: www.twitter.com/garybrown4det