The Detroit City Council is boosting the Detroit Police Department's budget an additional $22.6 million to cover a new five-year labor agreement.
Voting unanimously Wednesday, the council amended the fiscal year budget to provide the extra funds to support the anticipated incremental cost of proposed labor contracts for the city's uniform police unions. The total budget is $368 million.
The budget increase helps fund a new labor agreement with the Detroit Police Officers Association and Detroit Police Lieutenants & Sergeants Association. The agreements cover wages, hours and other basic conditions of employment through June 30, 2027.
The labor contract has an incremental cost of nearly $40 million in the first year and increases to $87 million in the fifth year.
The agreement states that police officer starting pay has increased from $29,000 in 2014 to $42,794 today. The agreement guarantees 4% annual increases each year on July 1 starting in 2024, which is equivalent to a 24% increase for new graduating officers and a 14% increase for those currently at the max. Additionally, the increase schedule for police officers has been shortened from five years to four years to allow members to reach the maximum scale in a shorter time frame. The number of Police Department positions increased by 10 from the 3,441 positions in FY 2022 to 3,451 in FY 2023.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Mayor Mike Duggan said the raises were "going to completely transform this department's ability to be fully staffed with the best police officers."
He said he expects 300 vacancies will be filled in the next year.
"We are now competitive not just with the surrounding suburbs, but with many of the Midwestern cities," he said of the pay increases.
The starting annual salary of $42,000 for Detroit police officers compares with starting yearly salaries of $51,861 in Warren, $44,160-$54,355 in Southfield and $49,346 in Sterling Heights.
Council President Mary Sheffield said the pay increases and new contract were "long overdue."
"This new contract put the Detroit's Police Department on more solid ground with respect to our ability to recruit, train and retain officers. In addition, it will go a long way to improving morale amongst the officers and ultimately, I hope, result in safer communities," Sheffield said later on Wednesday after the City Council vote in the morning.
Attrition among Detroit's rank-and-file police officers exceeds the national average due to a disparity in pay, according to her office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for police and detectives in 2021 was $66,020.
The city has made repeated efforts to stem the loss of officers leaving the department for better pay in the suburbs. The Detroit Police Department had lost more than 220 sworn officers since January, an average of about 28 per month, The Detroit News reported in August.
District 6 Councilwoman Gabriela Santiago-Romero, who initially postponed the vote last week, said she is working with the department to find solutions to her concerns about mental health response alternatives.
"About 50-60% of all calls are non-violent in the city and having recently visited Portland's Street Response, their non-police response program, it gave me a lot of hope of what we can do here in Detroit," Santiago-Romero said. "I look forward to finding the solutions we need to reduce overworking our officers."
(c)2022 The Detroit News
Visit The Detroit News at www.detnews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.