2014 Detroit Auto Show Deploys Private Security Force Following City's Bankruptcy Filing
- Organizers of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show told Edmunds they will create and deploy a private security force in the wake of Detroit's bankruptcy filing last week.
- "I can't think of any (international auto show) that does this," said Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, in a phone conversation.
- The private security force will go into operation in November, with the cost running into "the hundreds of thousands," Alberts said.
DETROIT — Organizers of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show told Edmunds they will create and deploy a private security force in the wake of Detroit's bankruptcy filing last week.
"I can't think of any (international auto show) that does this," said Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, in a phone conversation.
Alberts said the decision to create a separate security force is designed "to make sure our show is secure."
The private security force will go into operation in November, with the cost running into "the hundreds of thousands," Alberts said.
The action goes beyond the rent-a-cops typically hired for a few days at most domestic auto shows. The unusual move signals a determination on the part of Detroit show organizers to reassure manufacturers, the global media and the public that the Motor City extravaganza will be safe, even as the city's emergency manager decries the high crime rate and slow response times by police and fire here.
Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on Thursday. The Detroit auto show is held at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.
"Residents and business owners have been forced to take safety into their own hands," said the city's June 14 Proposal for Creditors issues by Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr. "Some relatively well-off sections of the city have created private security forces."
The report noted that Detroit's EMS and fire department response times are "extremely slow when compared to other cities (15 minutes and 7 minutes, respectively)."
In 2012, Detroit had the highest rate of violent crime of any U.S. city having a population over 200,000, based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports database.
Alberts said he expects 55-65 world debuts of cars and trucks at January's 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Approximately 40 automakers will be represented. Alberts said no automaker has pulled out of the Detroit show at this point.
"The situation we had five years ago in 2008 was more dire," Alberts said, referring to the recession that rocked the global auto industry. "It had to do with marketing dollars and the health of the OEMs."
He predicted that Detroit's bankruptcy is expected to have "little, if no impact" on the show.
"There is a comeback story here," Alberts said. "People don't look at (the bankruptcy filing) as a stigma. Detroit can pull itself up and reinvent itself. In three or four years, the city is going to shine."
The private security force will be supplemented by volunteers from other police departments in Michigan, along with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Border Patrol. Of course, the Detroit Police Department is expected to be on duty as well during the show.
Edmunds says: The organizers of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show are going to unprecedented lengths when it comes to security.