Detroit working to add 200 more police officers on the streets

During his 2015 State of the City Address, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said 200 more police officers will be on the streets.

This is good news for those living in the city, including resident Claudia Young, a crime victim.

"They put a gun to my head," she said. "Three men robbed me, the only thing they got was a dollar."

Young is thankful the three men who attacked her were caught, and she's also a big proponent of more police on the streets of Detroit.

"I feel that we need more police officers," she said. "Not just here in the downtown area, throughout the whole city."

During his address, Duggan said that is the plan.

"We're going to put 200 more police officers on the street and get them in the cars and responding," Duggan said during his State of the City.

A portion of the 200 will be new hires, while others are leaving desk jobs for the streets and some of those desk jobs will be filled by retired Detroit police officers who want to come back.

"Our retirees have already taken a hit with regards to their healthcare," said Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. "So this is an opportunity for them to at least go back to a position they are familiar with."

Diaz says it's a win win - but with only 1,700 sworn officers and so many leaving for other departments due to low pay, it's a challenge to get enough officers on the streets.

"We are incredibly understaffed," he said. "So the need for more front-line police officers is definitely there. It's difficult to do, obviously. Considering the pay and benefit package that the Detroit Police Department offers."

Diaz says new hires now make $15 an hour instead of $14 - but it's still much less than many suburban departments. 
(Editor's Note: Earlier information inaccurately stated officers now make $17.)

Even so, this department is making accommodations to get more officers on the street.

All parties are working to make this happen and say this will make a big difference in the neighborhoods.

"When you talk about 200 more police officers deployed in the field that's a direct impact on policing in our neighborhoods," said Police Chief James Craig. "And that's the good news."
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