Detroit police chief talks crime stats, return to 8-hour shifts

Police Chief James Craig says he sees bright light in 2013 crime, change back to 8-hour shifts is for morale

By Roger Weber - Reporter

DETROIT - The FBI crime stats show Detroit in 2012 had more than 15,000 violent crimes including murders, rapes and assaults.

That means 54 of every 100,000 residents were victims. The figure concerns Police Chief James Craig but he sees what he calls a bright light for 2013.

"We are sitting right now at 4 percent reduction in violent crime, but that number that really gets folks' attention is our homicide rate. Right now year-to-date we're at a 10 percent reduction," Craig said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The chief's goal is to continue that trend and restore police morale. He has been receiving a barrage of complaints about 12-hour shifts which began before he became chief.

"They said, 'Please chief, take us out of these hours. They're killing us,'" Craig said.

Details: DPD officers will return to 8-hour shifts

After talking to officers and their union, Chief Craig is putting them back on 8-hour schedules.

"It became increasingly clear to me that if I was going to have an effect on morale we needed to do something about the work schedule, and we've done that," he said.

Returning to 8-hour shifts will renew pressure for overtime. Craig says he is going to lean on the brass below him to keep a lid on overtime.

"With very little accountability, which I've reported out to you in my short time here, that's a foreign word to some. It will not be for long," he said.

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