Detroit Policeman’s Lot: Bleak Work, Bad Morale, Broken Cruisers


The Detroit Free Press profiles the bleak working conditions and discouraged morale of the 2,500 police officers in Detroit, which regularly tops FBI lists ranking violent crime. The officers work in a city so broke it filed for bankruptcy on July 18, citing more than $18 billion in unfunded liabilities. Detroit's police officers have taken 10 percent pay cuts, and there's talk of new concessions that could include pay, health benefits and their future pensions.

As morale has dwindled, so has the number of police officers on the streets–now about 2,500, down from 3,162 in 2006. They patrol in run-down cruisers, sometimes with broken equipment. They target crime hot spots, keep a watchful eye on those walking the streets at night, and chug coffee and energy drinks to get through their shifts. Police Chief James Craig, who took the helm of the department July 1, has promised to boost morale.

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