Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is answering tough questions about police recruits and officers leaving the city, in many cases for more pay and benefits in other communities.
We first broke the story of the so-called "Blue Flight" last week.
“Two and three-year officers are being recruited by other departments at rates we’ve never seen. Every time you lose a well trained two-year officer that hurts. A 15-year officer hurts even more," says Mayor Duggan.
He adds "There’s no question, Detroit Police officers make less than their suburban counterparts. We need to keep raising it, and that is reality.”
We showed the mayor DPD's own stats we obtained, showing 133 officers have left since the start of the year.
The mayor showed us different figures he says represent more accurate numbers.
"That number includes people who also dropped out of the academy, so the actual number is 108," says Duggan.
The mayor tells us he's already offered raises to police officers two years before their contract expires and veteran officers are no longer leaving at the rate they once were.
“The number of officers is going up. The attrition rate for sworn officers has not changed in the last four years," says Duggan.
He says the city has also offered to restore some holiday pay lost during bankruptcy and more increases are being pursued as city finances improve. But other challenges remain and Detroit also just emerged from state oversight in April.
“I wish I could give these officers a 10% raise right now. They deserve it. If I did that, the state would be back in charge of the city’s finances by September," says Duggan.
As for the issue of police academy graduates getting a certification paid for by Detroit taxpayers than leaving the city, the mayor says his legal team is working hard on a solution.
“To have us spend $50-75,000 to train an officer, and then come in and raid them away when you don’t spend any money training your own, that to me isn’t professional," says Duggan.
In the meantime, he says 30 cadets are graduating each month. Records show their pay has increased from $15/hr back in 2014 to nearly $18/hr now.
The Mayor says he ultimately wants all city workers to share in the upside of Detroit’s comeback. We’ll continue to bring you the latest developments as they happen.