Judge clears way for lower pay, longer shifts for Detroit police - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Judge clears way for lower pay, longer shifts for Detroit police

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Detroit Police patrol car  (Credit: MyFox Detroit) Detroit Police patrol car (Credit: MyFox Detroit)
DETROIT (MyFox Detroit) -

Detroit police officers already seeing a ten percent pay cut will soon see twelve hour work shifts.  Thursday, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge lifted the restraining order that blocked the changes.

"It's demoralizing.  We feel unappreciated by it," said Detroit Police Officer Baron Coleman.

The 16 year veteran is already dealing with a 10 percent pay cut.

"In 16 years, I've made basically a $7,000 raise.  We're the lowest paid major police department in the country right now, and it's going to get lower."

A judge ruled Thursday that Police Chief Ralph Godbee can proceed with his plan for twelve hour shifts.

"The bottom line is that if you're not at a hundred percent, you're going to make mistakes, and when we make mistakes, it's unfortunate but sometimes people die," said Joseph Duncan, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association.

He is disappointed.  The DPOA had gone to court hoping to permanently block the move.  The ten percent pay cuts are already in effect.

"It's $5,300 a year what it comes out to be," Duncan explained.  "It's about $200 a paycheck.  It's $400 a month.  That's a car note.  That's my kid's braces.  School is coming now.  Could be school clothes."

"October we're going to lose more of our medical, so it's not going to get better.  We just want to be appreciated.  We do an honest day's work, want an honest day's pay," said Coleman.

The ten percent pay cuts were already reflected in last week's paychecks, and Duncan said he expects the twelve hour shifts to start next month.

It's those twelve hour shifts that have Duncan most concerned, and not just because they impact the officers.

"I don't believe that they can run and do their jobs and do it effectively working those many hours, and that becomes a concern not only for the officers themselves, but I mean for the citizens, as well," said Duncan.

"Public safety is number one and without that you're not going to have a turnaround," he added.

They also wonder how many of the 2,033 Detroit Police officers will decide they've had enough.  300 can retire right now, and newer officers are getting offers elsewhere.

"Our numbers are wearing out.  I just learned today in court that 63 officers left since June.  I don't know if more (are) going to leave because of today's decision.  If I had my time I would leave," Coleman remarked.

"I got a call from Toledo.  They're looking for 75 individuals.  Trust me, they're going to be here.  Atlanta was here about a month and a half ago, two months ago.  It's unfortunate that Detroit loses their police officers, but fortunately somebody else wants them," said Duncan.

Mayor Dave Bing released the following statement: "I am pleased with Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Macdonald's ruling today.  My administration will move forward in implementing the City Employment Terms for all City of Detroit workers as we continue to work to fiscally stabilize the city."

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