Detroit Police Face Salary, Morale Woes; Even The Criminals Are Sympathetic


As Detroit tries to rebound — a plan to emerge from bankruptcy was filed Friday — few have been feeling the pain of the city’s financial collapse more than the police, reports the Associated Press. There’s worry, frustration and anger among the rank and file. Paychecks have shrunk. Morale is low. Co-workers have fled to more lucrative jobs. Those who remain must try to protect a sprawling, often violent city where hidden dangers lurk among tens of thousands of abandoned houses. A plan by Detroit’s emergency financial manager to pull the city out of bankruptcy would give police and fire retirees at least 90 percent of their pensions after eliminating cost-of-living allowances. The plan probably faces court challenges and hinges on proposed state funding, among other factors.

New Police Chief James Craig, a former Detroit police officer who spent much of his 37-year law enforcement career in Los Angeles. eagerly returned home last summer to take what he called his “dream job.” He is the fifth man to hold the position in five years. Craig has vowed to reform a police department he said had been woefully mismanaged and had “lost the confidence of the public, lost the confidence of its own officers and lost its way …” Officer Baron Coleman says he has had support from some of his own arrestees. “When they saw us take a pay cut they were in shock. We were arresting guys … and they were like, ‘I can’t believe your city would do you like this.’ … I say, ‘Thanks for caring,’ It’s just funny because I don’t like communicating with a person who has just committed a robbery how sad my life is.”

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