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Salaries driving Detroit police officers to the suburbs

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

"Let's face it - Detroit police officers probably learn to do more in six months than most departments learn their entire police career."

Candid and off the cuff, Police Chief James Craig sounded off on the growing number of police departments recruiting Detroit police officers. Their salaries are the big reason why some people are jumping ship.

"In fact, Wayne State University, the university police agency, makes more money than a Detroit police. And that's not acceptable," Craig says.

That's not a hyperbole, either.

Wayne State officers make about $43,000 a year; Detroit officers have to work four years earn that much.

"We just lost four guys, to my understanding, that went to one of the suburban departments just this past weekend," says Mark Diaz, Detroit Police Union President. "We're starting guys off at 14 dollars an hour. It's not surprising that the city of Detroit is becoming nothing more than a training ground for suburban departments."

"I don't wave the magic wand of pay. The thing I can do and continue to do is tell the story," says Craig.

We contacted emergency manager Kevyn Orr's office about the chief's comments, and what's it's doing to boost police pay.

A spokesperson replied, 'What more a can the EM say that the chief did not?'

Orr is trying to free up cash flow to invest in police and fire.

"Kevyn Orr is committed to public safety of the city of Detroit. He is absolutely committed to it. That was one of the things, coming in the door, he referenced it time and time again," says Craig.

But some believe time is running out.

"For any politician, or the emergency manager for that matter, who is going to assert that public safety is the most important thing in the city of Detroit - well, they need to put their money where their mouth is because we're losing guys at an incredible rate and I don't know if we're going to be able to keep up," Diaz says.

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