Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig accepts Detroit job without knowing full compensation package

CINCINNNATI - Outgoing Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig accepted the Detroit police chief position without knowing how much he’s going to earn in take-home pay, officials said Wednesday.

But by the time he starts on July 1 and perhaps sooner, the details of his compensation should be ironed out, said Bill Knowling, spokesperson for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

“Chief (Craig) has to appear before city council tomorrow (Thursday), and I would assume it (compensation) would be settled by then,” Knowling said in a text message.

Craig could potentially be working for approximately $20,000 less than what he was earning in Cincinnati, all while trying to lead a police department in a city facing dire economic circumstances and plummeting police morale.

The salary range for the Detroit police chief position is between $74,796 and $124,896, according to the city of Detroit's job classification specifications. It was unclear Wednesday what other benefits may await Craig in Detroit or if, for example, deferred compensation would be included in his pay package. 

Currently, he earns $143,000 a year in Cincinnati, according to city spokeswoman Meg Olberding. Hired in July 2011, Craig is not under contract with Cincinnati. 

Craig’s last day as police chief in Cincinnati is June 22. Craig will receive $13,820.31 in accrued vacation time, Olberding said.

Craig was back in his hometown of Detroit Wednesday and unavailable for comment. 

The Rev. Jerome Warfield, the chair of the Detroit Board of Police Commission – the civilian body which governs the police department there – said he is excited about Craig's hiring. 

“In my meetings and interviews with him, I’ve been very impressed,” Warfield said. “He understands the issues we face a great deal.”

One of the first priorities Craig will face is boosting the morale of a police department that has had five different police chiefs in as many years. As a result, according to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s 41-page report outlining the city’s woes to Michigan state officials on Monday, “DPD's efficiency (officers per capita, response times), effectiveness (case closure rate, crime reduction) and employee morale are extremely low.”

Violent crimes dropped during Craig's tenure here, which attributes to community and data-driven policing. After his first full year in command in 2012, violent crimes dropped by 15 percent from the previous year; homicides were down 26 percent; and total property crimes were down 4 percent, according to the year-end STARS report.

So far in 2013, violent crime dripped through the end of April, but homicide has increased by 50 percent when compared to the same period last year, according Cincinnati police statistics. Through April, 21 people were slain in Cincinnati compared to 14 during the same time period last year. 

Financially, Cincinnati is facing a $35 million deficit for next year, and Craig departs as 49 police officers face potential layoffs.

But the situation in Detroit is far more dire. In March, the city was taken over by the state and established an emergency manager to navigate its financial troubles.

Orr said in his report that Detroit’s $326.6 million deficit is expected to grow by $60 million before the fiscal year ends June 30.


Print this article Back to Top