The department’s campaign features two video ads, 30 seconds and 40 seconds long, but it also includes digital media, posters and billboards. Since the campaign began in late January, applications are up 35%, said Lashinda Stair, first assistant chief.
“We’re hoping that people within the city see those things because they’re all within the parameters of the city of Detroit,” Stair told The Detroit News.
The cash crunch that drove Detroit into bankruptcy in 2013 also took a toll on paying and retaining police officers. The department’s recruiting effort is aiming to show prospective candidates that Detroit has emerged from financial hardship and can afford to better pay its law enforcement officers.
Police Chief James Craig said officers’ starting pay was $29,000 annually when he became chief in 2013.
But Mayor Mike Duggan said that since then starting salaries have increased to $40,000 and will jump to $42,000 in July.
“That’s still below suburban departments,” he said. “But we’re hoping to bust the myth that we don’t have resources. We are making huge investments in the department. I wish I could give every precinct commander another 10 or 15 officers to put on the street.”
Craig said the force has already lost 10 officers this year to regional police departments, but he noted that the city can now better compete with communities throughout Metro Detroit.
“In a suburban department, you might not ever get to work in an investigative unit, or on surveillance, fly a helicopter, work a marine unit, or be a K-9 or SWAT officer,” he said, while acknowledging that policing in Detroit “is a dangerous job.”
Detroit was America’s most violent city in 2018, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most recent data.
Detroit police have tried to eliminate any cost-related obstacles that might push away officer applicants. Aside from some out-of-pocket expenses, participating in the police academy is primarily free.
In January, the department began a 90-day cadet program that helps would-be candidates attain the physical fitness required for police academy training beforehand.
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