Detroit Police Chief James Craig responds to so-called 'Blue Flight' in his department

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 18:49:48-04

It’s being called “Blue Flight.” Last week, 7 Action News broke the story of Detroit Police officers leaving the city at a staggering rate.

To date, 133 officers have left the city this year. Many have simply crossed 8 Mile road for a major increase in pay and benefits with another department.

“Some are leaving for better pay and benefits” admits Chief James Craig. Craig agreed to a sit-down interview with us to discuss the issue.

He adds “Yes, it's unfair that we pay for their academy and pay them a salary and get them certified with the state, and they turn around and leave.”

Last week, Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer admitted 6 of his newest hires have come from Detroit.

“We’re getting the cream of the crop,” said Dwyer.

His new hires from Detroit ranged in experience from 2-19 years on the job. 

Besides Warren, cities like Taylor, Southfield, Sterling Heights and the Oakland County Sheriff's Office are all recruiting in Detroit.

“It is a huge issue, and the Mayor and I are committed to coming up with a solution,” says Craig.

In the meantime, DPD continues to operate a robust recruiting program.

However, with base pay at just under $18/hr. and fewer benefits, its become clear many aren’t willing to stay unless something changes. 

Chief Craig says other cities are also making officers pay back the cost of the academy if they leave, or using no-compete clauses in their contracts.

We’ve also reached out to the Mayor for comment since he manages the city’s finances. However, he’s declined comment for more than a week.