Earlier this year, the Detroit City Council agreed to spend $270,000 on citizen radio patrols. But because the expenditure wasn’t in former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s budget, the Financial Review Commission needed to approve it.
The commission is the panel that the Michigan Legislature created through the “Grand Bargain” legislation to oversee Detroit’s finances. At the commission’s July meeting on Monday, members unanimously approved the measure that will fund some 36 citizen radio patrols throughout the city.
Jim Ward is the president of the Green Acres Radio Patrol, one of the groups located throughout the city where volunteers ride in pairs and have CB radios for communication with a base station in the neighborhood.
“They will patrol and anything they observe they will contact the police department that will take action,” Ward says. “There are no weapons or anything along those lines carried on patrol. They are strictly the eyes and ears for the city of Detroit.”
Ward credits the radio patrols with reducing crime in neighborhoods. For example, in March there were “zero” incidents in the Green Acres area, he says.
Before the city council began administering payments to the patrols last year, it could take them up to a year to get paid. Ward says now the groups get monthly reimbursements.