DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s police chief thinks the men and women patrolling Detroit’s streets should be paid more money.

James Craig wants to put an end to other cities “raiding” his department to staff their own ranks — often with the lure of a better salary.

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Starting pay for a Detroit cop is about $28,000 a year, he said, noting that some cities pay almost twice as much.

“I talk about my last assignment in Cincinnati. Certainly they don’t have the challenges that Detroit police officers face day in and day out, yet starting pay is around $52,000 a year,” Craig said.

Craig said as Detroit’s revitalization continues to unfold, he’d like to see that reflected in officers’ paychecks.

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“I just draw on my own experience, looking at what other cities have done,” Craig told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “Certainly, as cities become vibrant — it’s no secret that we just came out of bankruptcy — but, as the city grows, as investment continues and will happen in the city of Detroit it’s anticipated that we pay our officers.”

Craig said his department is actively recruiting good candidates.

“But I’m also concerned about retention — retention of our best,” he said. “Because I’m tired of hearing the stories about some of the smaller municipalities, like Westland and Dearborn Heights, hiring some of our best.”

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“We have to be about the business of not only providing the kind of leadership that necessary, and retention…but also make sure that we compensate them accordingly.”