While I was in Detroit--in fact the very day I drove past this stately former police station--I learned that Detroit has the fewest police officers since the 1920s. It was during that decade--which was very good to Motown--that the city exceeded 1 million residents. There are only 700,000 Detroiters now--and the city's crime rate is so bad that last year it was deemed a public health issue.
The former Detroit Third Precinct police station at 2200 Hunt on the corner of Gratiot--a Beaux Arts beauty--was in use during the city's better times. It closed in 1959 after a consolidation of police districts. It late served as an office building--it's been vacant since 2004.
Today's Detroit cops are low-paid--NPR reported last year that other police departments are poaching Detroit police officers, some of whom have stooped to accepting food drive donations.
It takes police an average of 58 minutes to respond to an emergency call--the nationwide average is 11 minutes.
All you have to do is look at Detroit's police cars to realize that law enforcement is a rag-tag affair there. I saw four different police car designs last week: white with red and blue lettering, black with gold lettering, black with unreadable gray lettering (or did the gold lettering fade away?), and the flashy design shown here. This is one of 125 Chevy Impala police cruisers donated to the city last year by a group led by racing businessman Roger Penske.
These cars dominate central Detroit but I didn't see a single one of them in the wasteland neighborhoods where police protection is needed the most. These cars assist in perpetuating the decades-old illusion to people visiting Detroit's casinos or attending a Tigers baseball game that the city is on the rebound.
From my post at Da Tech Guy:
I walked its streets--the tragedy of Detroit.