by Scott McClallen
Some Detroit police might receive $10,000 pay boosts. The wage increases aim to incentivize filling 300 department vacancies and stem the tide of leaving officers.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the city and police unions reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement paid for by projected tax revenues.
Union members must still ratify the new contract, which the City Council must also approve.
The city says it lost 72 officers in August and September, with nearly 66% of those going to surrounding suburb police departments.
“Surrounding cities were raiding DPD because they know we have the most committed and best trained officers,” Duggan said in a statement. “We’ve been working with the union leadership for months to put together a package Detroit could be proud of. I really believe we’ve done that here.”
The proposed agreement with the Detroit Police Officers Association would immediately increase starting officers’ pay by $10,000 – from $43,000 to $53,000. Pay for officers with four years on the force would increase by $13,000 – from $60,000 to $73,000. Officers would also receive an increase of 4% yearly for the next four years.
DPOA president Craig Miller welcomed the tentative agreement.
“This is an unprecedented moment for the Detroit Police Department and the men and women in blue,” Miller said in a statement. “This package will certainly benefit our hard working officers, their families, and the citizens of Detroit.”
A tentative agreement with the Lieutenants and Sergeants union would raise detective pay by $11,000, sergeants by an average of $10,000, and lieutenants by an average of $11,000.
Chief James White said two other provisions – recouping academy costs and allowing lateral transfers – will help recruitment.
In the past, the city of Detroit has paid for a six-month police training academy for new hires who often left the department after graduation. The new contract would allow the city to recoup the training costs from officers who leave for other departments shortly after graduation.
DPD says a contractual obligation to start experienced officers at the bottom of the pay scale also hurts recruitment.
“I have always said that we have the best police department in the country, and this new contract rewards the hard-working men and women who put their lives on the line, every single day, to protect and serve Detroiters,” White said. “This tentative agreement is our commitment to them, and a show of our appreciation, continued support, and respect for all that they do.”
The city justifies offering the substantial raises because of a Revenue Estimating Conference when experts certify the city’s revenue for the current fiscal year and the next four fiscal years.
A Sept. 12 revenue conference showed sustained growth in income tax revenues, which the expert panel cited to raise its estimates by nearly $40 million annually over the next five years.
By state law, Detroit can’t spend more than the revenue conference certifies as available.
The possible pay boost follows police departments nationwide struggling to fill officer positions. In many cases, cities hire civilians to split some of the police call load, including New Orleans and Phoenix.
The city of Ann Arbor plans to use $3.5 million of its $24 million COVID relief to create an unarmed response team to handle non-criminal calls. The city is surveying residents, asking what responsibilities the unarmed team should hold.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Mike Duggan” by Mayor Mike Duggan. Background Photo “Detroit Police Department” by Detroit Police Department.