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Detroit Police look to boost ranks with hiring fair

The Detroit Police Department is looking to boost its ranks.

The department is holding a recruiting fair for the first time in almost decade at its downtown public safety headquarters Saturday.

Police Chief James Craig says when he started the job last month, he found out there was funding to add 60 officers. But there weren’t enough recruits.

“Yet once I’m here on July 1st, I’m told that we can only put 25 recruits in an academy class,” Craig said last week. “That’s unacceptable.”

So Craig says the department is “in a big push to hire” at least 35 additional officers.

And the department may up that number in the near future. Craig says the department is “authorized” to have up to 2800 sworn officers, but only has a little over 2400 right now.

Part of the problem is attrition. Craig estimates the department is losing about 25 officers from its ranks each month, and “that number continues to grow.”

Like all city workers, Detroit police have had to take significant wage and benefit cuts as the city struggles through bankruptcy. Pensions could also be in jeopardy.

A starting police officer in Detroit now makes about $30,000 a year.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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