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Detroit police officers to get raises as department deals with retention problems

Detroit Police Department

Most Detroit police officers will get raises under a newly-extended contract.

Mayor Mike Duggan opened the Detroit Police Officers Association contract two years before it’s set to expire. Under the new contract, which runs until 2022, all DPOA officers will get2 percent base wage hikes immediately, and 7 percent hikes by 2021. That’s in addition to an already-scheduled 3 percent increase in 2019.

Patrol officers with at least five years experience, and officers with at least 15 years experience, will also be eligible for additional, immediate 2.5 percent pay raises. Officers will also get back some benefits they lost in the city’s bankruptcy, including double-time pay on four holidays, and health care for officers forced into early retirement by catastrophic injuries.

Duggan says re-opening the contract early was yet another step the city is taking to show it’s serious about paying its police officers better.

“We have been losing officers to suburban departments,” Duggan said. “And it isn’t going to be possible to make everybody equal right now, but we do need to show those officers that there’s hope that we’re going to get there.”

The DPD has been dealing with serious retention issues lately. Of particular concern is new officers going through department-funded police academy training, then leaving almost immediately for other, better-paying jobs. On the opposite end, a number of veteran officers are also eligible for retirement over the next several years.

DPOA President Mark Diaz says officers deserve more, but the mayor is sending all the right signals.

“This is a huge step in the right direction,” Diaz said. “Make no mistake, it is not the final solution.”

Duggan said if the city can identify additional revenue sources, he will consider re-opening the contract again before it’s set to expire. The pay raises need, but are expected to get, City Council approval.

With these changes, a starting Detroit officer now makes $39,545. That’s up about $10,000 from when Duggan took office in 2014, after officers had taken a 10 percent pay cut in the midst of the city’s financial crisis, but still significantly less than many other police departments.

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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