DETROIT – The city has long faced an uphill battle to recruit and retain police officers, which is why a proposed pay raise is awaiting the city council’s approval.
But, not even that would make the Detroit Police Department wages competitive with officers in other cities, including one that made a bold move to poach officers from Detroit.
“I saw it,” said Detroit police Chief James White. “I know that our officers are the best in the country, and I know that they get highly recruited in-state and out-of-state.”
The bold billboard in Detroit suggests officers could have a starting salary of $72,000. If Detroit City Council approves, pay raises for Detroit police would have a starting salary of $53,000.
“I am not surprised,” White said. “I’m a little bit disappointed that someone would post something like that in our community, but I also know that our officers are highly recruited.
A police union leader went to the city council urging the council to approve the pay raises, or the department would continue to lose officers.
“From my conversations with council members, everybody believes that we are way overdue in supporting our DPD men and women,” said Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield. “I’m looking for unanimous support coming next Tuesday.”
“I sent letters to chiefs across the country saying, ‘Please, don’t hire our people,’” said former Detroit police Chief Ike McKinnon. “They looked at me and laughed.”
Mckinnon says Detroit can’t compete with a $72,000 starting salary.
“You can’t compete with someone whose making or paying $70,000 to start,” McKinnon said. “They’re making as much as some of our command officers are.”
Shawn Ley: “Did you happen to call Indy by chance?”
White: “We won’t get into those conversations.”
So far, 290 Detroit police officers have left the department for other jobs.