Many places in the world are just bad choices for your vacation dollar. Benghazi, Beirut, Baghdad, why not just pitch a tent in an active volcano? Now add Detroit to that list, and you wonder why Uncle Ted Nugent moved to Texas:
The men and women of the Detroit Police Department believe the city is too dangerous to enter, and they want citizens to know it.
Detroit Police Officer Association (DPOA) Attorney Donato Iorio said officers are holding the “Enter At Your Own Risk” rally at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Comerica Park to remind the public that the officers are overworked, understaffed, and at times, fearful for their lives.
“Detroit is America’s most violent city, its homicide rate is the highest in the country and yet the Detroit Police Department is grossly understaffed,” Iorio told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson. “The DPOA believes that there is a war in Detroit, but there should be a war on crime, not a war on its officers.”
I like their bill board, this is reminiscent of what Stockton Police Dept, tried a few years ago. Although in this instance I think the Detroit merchants, hoteliers and restaurants might cry foul.
I am on board with most of that stuff, except when they complain about 12 hour shifts and the major concessions they have already made. The majority of public safety agencies went to 12’s a few years back, it’s easier for scheduling, and the officers support it, they get more days off. A normal rotation for this would be 3 days on/4 days off, the switch to 4 days on/3 days off, with any overages made by quarterly. The unions all got to vote on this so they have the support of the rank and file.
Their average salary is pretty low. Most all California agencies start at around 60K and top out at around 90K.
But the root problem that those Detroit coppers face, the single battle between public safety workers and the cities that pay their salaries is their benefit packages. No city can sustain itself when a majority of it’s budget goes towards salaries and benefits for it’s public safety workers. Vallejo, the city next to where I live and the city that made history a few years back for the being the largest in California to file for bankruptcy protection, was paying almost 80% of it’s budget. Stockton was paying 78%, hence their bankruptcy move. I don’t know what concessions the Detroit police union made but my guess is that it was not enough.
In the past we talked about that big Wisconsin fight between Gov. Walker and the teachers union. Getting them to pay for just a small portion of their pension and medical care was like pulling teeth, asking them to pay 12% for their medical coverage (still less then half of the national average) and he came off looking like the Grinch.
With the pension system in place now, cities have to pay for two salaries, for each on the job cop their is one retired, drawing a pension equivalent to an active worker. This can had been kicked down the road long enough.
I have raged on the intransigence of the unions many times here, but we should not lose sight that 1) police and fire work is still pretty dangerous, populated by folks who require a massive amount of bravery and judgement (a bad or faulty decision could cost the city millions) and that citizens have a right to be protected and live in a relatively safe environment. Cut backs effect everyone. Just as it sucks when involved in a car accident you are told that the cops don’t respond to those anymore, or coming home to find your house ransacked and burgled, to be told ,”Sorry, come in on Monday to make a report”, the flip side is even worse. When called to respond to a bank alarm, shots fired at such and such address, or a repeat domestic disturbance where violence is the norm to be told that you are going in solo because you have no back up, screw that shit.
This is why cities go bankrupt, to nullify prior police and fire contracts and start from scratch, but the unions have to meet them halfway. Defined benifit plans have to go the way of the dinosaur, it’s just too expensive.