Like the city itself, the Detroit Police Department is at a turning point, with a search for a new chief that could hardly have come at a more difficult time, reports the Detroit Free Press. Police officers have taken a 10 percent pay cut and reductions in their pensions and health care. They work 12-hour shifts in an attempt to stretch the department’s thin resources, as the number of killings in the city hits a four-year high.
Many rank-and-file officers are demoralized and outraged over pay and work-rule changes by Mayor Dave Bing as he tries to fix the city’s dire finances while pushing more officers from desk to street duty. Detroit could run out of cash by year’s end, risking more layoffs, furloughs, and payless paydays. The next person to command the 2,600-member force will be the fourth chief in four years. John Firman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police said thousands of smart, executive-level police officials nationwide would welcome the challenge of rebuilding a department, even with uncertainties about the city’s future.