Despite some recent, high-profile deaths in the line of duty, the Detroit Police Department is graduating plenty of new officers.
Twenty-three new recruits graduated from the police academy this past week. It’s the second class of graduating officers so far this year.
Police officer David Hornshaw is one member of that class. He says the new officers hail from “near and far places.”
“Areas near, like 7 Mile and Southfield, and Gladstone and Dexter,” Hornshaw told the graduating class, family members and top police brass at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.
“As for areas far, we come from other countries like Bosnia, Russia, the Ukraine, and Serbia.”
Police Chief James Craig told the new officers they “walk among heroes,” including the seven Detroit officers either killed or seriously injured on duty in the past two years.
“Remember their efforts, remember their courage, learn from them, honor them, always, in your commitment to serve,” Craig told the graduates.
Detroit is trying to rebuild its police ranks since the city’s bankruptcy.
The department is bringing in plenty of new recruits, but having some trouble retaining officers with its relatively low salaries. A starting Detroit officer makes around $36,000 a year.
One police union official says the department has lost more than 630 officers in the past three years.
Some city officials have also expressed concerns about diversity among recent DPD recruits, saying they don’t reflecting the Detroit community.
Of the 23 officers in this most recent class, four are African-American and one is Hispanic. Detroit is around 80% African American.