DETROIT -

New Detroit police chief James Craig's aim of having more officers on patrol may run into a challenge with a recent rise in retirements within the department.

Some 50 command staffers have put in for retirement in recent weeks.  Many may see the city at the brink of bankruptcy and want to lock in retirement benefits.

Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association president Mark Young said the city could keep those experienced officers if it paid them more.

"For men and women to retire that have institutional knowledge that the city of Detroit has invested in them, I understand they are looking to save dollars and cents.  What makes sense is keeping institutional knowledge and experience going forward," Young said.

Police union contracts have expired.  New contracts under an emergency manager might include more cuts.  The decision to retire might be an attempt to lock in benefits, but bankruptcy expert Doug Bernstein said that might not be the best decision.

If you're an employee, you still have a job. But the pension benefits and the time you put in may get cut off and you may not get in the future what you thought you were going to get," Bernstein said.

Bernstein added that police officers who retire now might become  unsecured creditors in a Chapter Nine bankruptcy.