How a Wayne County police department is responding to losing officers at an alarming rate

Staffing shortages are common right now but officers in Melvindale said they are losing officers at an alarming rate.

MELVINDALE, Mich. – Staffing shortages are common right now, but officers in Melvindale said they are losing officers at an alarming rate.

Police said they believe it’s because of benefits and pay package that is not competitive with fellow Downriver communities.

The city of Melvindale has determined that 24 officers are a staffing level that is optimal. Currently, the department has 17 officers, with two of those positions being administrative.

“We are burned out, morale has been dead for years, we are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted,” said Sgt. Matthew Furman.

Officers working the daily grind feel it - enforced overtime taking a toll.

“I have nothing against this body, neither does the police department. We just want to be seen. We are at a critical point right now,” Lt. Robert Kennaley told the council.

Members of the city council did not appreciate finding this all out at a meeting and felt attacked until more veteran members explained that nobody in the department viewed the council as the problem.

The problem isn’t so much the starting pay which is competitive, but the pay around the five-year mark, which is not. Melvindale does not offer a pension; neighboring departments do. The city council has purchased new equipment like computers and shields as well as signed off on a renovation of the space, which hadn’t seen any updates since the 70′s.

The problem is that Melvindale taxpayers are already paying $24 million to pay off past debt. The council does not want to add an additional burden to the residents.

“If this police department is allowed to collapse, which is it on the verge -- I can assure you this community will be right behind it,” said a Melvindale officer at the council meeting.

About the Authors:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.