duggan with a group of people
Detroit City Council approves new union contracts that boost starting pay for new police officers and gives raises to others. (From left) Mark Young, president of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, Councilman Fred Durhal III, Police Chief James White and Mayor Mike Duggan during a March 9, 2022, news conference on one-time officer bonuses. (BridgeDetroit photo by Bryce Huffman)

Starting pay for Detroit police officers is increasing by $10,000 and some others on the force will get raises, under a new set of labor agreements between the city and police unions. 

The City Council on Wednesday approved a five-year contract for the Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA) that calls for an immediate shift in starting salary from $43,000 to $53,000 for officers coming out of the academy. The DPOA agreement also includes a $13,000 increase – from $60,000 to $73,000 – for officers with at least four years in the department.

Through the same resolution, the council approved a contract for the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association (DPLSA) that will raise the pay of detectives and lieutenants in the department by about $11,000, and sergeant salaries by about $10,000. Mark Young, president of DPLSA, said ahead of Wednesday’s vote during the council’s formal session that the pay increases will benefit the city and its residents.

“The tax base won’t be here if there’s not an effective and appropriate law enforcement agency to provide the citizens protection,” Young told council members. 

City officials and members of the Detroit Police Department have long argued that officer wages have been a barrier for the city in hiring and retaining officers being lured by higher salaries in some suburban departments. In March, the department announced one-time $2,000 retention bonuses for officers to fight the wave of officers leaving the department. 

Mayor Mike Duggan in September said the then-tentative agreements could help the department fill about 300 vacancies. The department, the mayor noted at the time, had lost 72 officers in August and September, many went to other departments in Metro Detroit, he said. 

During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Duggan said he expects all 300 vacancies in DPD to be filled within the next year and a half.

Council President Mary Sheffield said in a Wednesday statement released after the council’s vote that the pay increases are “long overdue.”

“This new contract put the Detroit Police Department on more solid ground with respect to our ability to recruit, train, and retain officers,” Sheffield’s said. “In addition, it will go a long way to improving morale amongst the officers and ultimately, I hope, result in safer communities.”

Bryce Huffman is a reporter for BridgeDetroit. He was formerly a reporter for Michigan Radio, and host of the podcast, Same Same Different.

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