Detroit police to get pay raise in new agreement

A pay raise for Detroit police comes after officers took a big hit in the city's bankruptcy..

The goal is to recruit 220 new officers and retain as many veterans as possible as the city works to pay the people who put their lives on the line - what they deserve.

"We have the hardest working police officers in America," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Craig praised his officers and a new plan to increase their pay - a much needed move to recruit and retain good officers. He called it a first step in the right direction.

"Raising the starting wage is critical," Craig said. "It's no secret that we're losing officer after officer to smaller agencies, some here locally, some outside the state of Michigan."

Officers took a 10 percent pay cut in the bankruptcy, about eight percent of which was restored in October for the Detroit Police Officers Association under their contract.

The new plan calls for new measures, increasing the starting salary from $31,700 to $36,000, plus a four percent pay raise for all officers. Tuition reimbursement plus an increase in pay - two percent for anyone with two years of college, plus another two for lieutenants and sergeants who have four years of college.

It's not perfect - but it's a start..

"All of our uniformed personnel are making $10,000 on average or so less than their suburban counterparts," said Mayor Mike Duggan.

With 220 officers to hire and more than a dozen leaving every month - this move to recruit and retain can't come a moment too soon for a city trying to turn things around.

Duggan was acknowledging that it is not just Detroit police, but fire and EMS are underpaid. He says the city is working to address those situations next.

This first move doesn't come cheap.

"This is going to cost $41 million over four years," Duggan said.

About $28 million from reduced payments on consulting fees, $8 million from the police operating budget and another $5 million in savings.

All three unions have to open up their contracts - and their leadership is supporting this move.

"I see that city government is working and again it's working for us," said Cmdr. Charles Mahone. "The members of Detroit police department out there every day trying to take care of our citizens."

Duggan says the city will also be looking at retiree healthcare, especially for those injured on the job. This latest effort could be ratified in the next week and pay raises in place Jan. 1.

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