Felons get $1.2M Washtenaw Co. contract despite suspect school claims

Craig gets 2-year contract extension to remain top cop

George Hunter and Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Detroit — Calling it one of the "easiest contract negotiations" he had ever handled, Mayor Mike Duggan has announced the city had extended Police Chief James Craig's contract by two years.

At a press conference Thursday morning at police headquarters, Duggan said the extension would keep Craig in his position as the city's top cop until at least the middle of 2017.

According to the agreement, Craig's contract will automatically be renewed for one year if neither party gives 12 months notice not to renew the contract, which keeps Craig's salary at $225,000 per year.

"When I was running for mayor, I was very critical of the fact that the city went through five chiefs in five years," Duggan said. "It gave a sense of instability. I am confident we have the right leader for this department."

Craig started his chief's job in July 2013.

Duggan said he assessed Craig's performance early on in his tenure as chief and decided that Craig had "some pretty remarkable accomplishments."

Although homicides are up in 2015, they dipped below 300 for the first time since 1967 in 2014. Most other violent crimes in the city saw significant drops last year as well.

"Holding police leaders accountable is the reason crime is down," Craig said. "Command accountability has been the key, but we still have to continue to drive crime down and build up relationships with the community."

Under the terms of the contract, if the mayor decides to terminate Craig's contract without cause, the city will pay the balance of the remaining contract.

But under a unique arrangement, if Craig were to decide to terminate his contract without cause then he would be required to pay the remainder of his contract to the city.

Duggan — who had previously stated that he wanted Craig to remain as chief of police — said he consulted with the City Council, the police union and the board of police commissioners before deciding to extend the contract.

"All the parties gave their overwhelming support for Craig," said Duggan, who said negotiations with the chief only took about five minutes.

Craig noted a number of his friends were astounded when Craig told them he was considering taking the post as Detroit's top cop.

"When the Detroit opportunity presented itself, some of my colleagues said I'd lost my mind," Craig said. "But Detroit is home."

When asked how long he would continue as chief, Craig said, "I've got some good years left in me. I love what I do."


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