Recruiting and retaining officers in the Menominee police department has been a problem for a long time, and it’s likely to only get worse. Police Chief Brett Botbyl told the city’s public safety and public works committee that a recent survey shows there are projected to be over 900 openings for officers in the state of Michigan in the next year, but Michigan Academies are turning out less than 800 graduates each year. Botbyl noted wages are part of the issue. Menominee’s starting wage is $5 an hour less than in Marinette, and $6 an hour less than at Marinette County. Another handicap is the lack of a sliding pay scale for officers with experience, meaning Menominee can only offer experienced officers the entry level salary, which makes it nearly impossible to recruit experienced officers.
Botbyl says Menominee has a reputation for being a training department, and their well-trained officers have been often hired away by other departments. The department has lost about 2 officers a year over the past two decades, which is costly, since training each new recruitment costs the city about $26,000.
Committee Chairman Doug Robinson suggested the city may want to look at some sort of a tuition assistance program to help retain officers.
City Manager Tony Graff hoped there would be a way to encourage local residents to get into law enforcement careers. Graff says he hopes the city can come up with some sort of a recruitment plan.