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Ind. chief: Low pay makes department ‘a training ground for other PDs’

Chief Steve Forker said a third of his officers have left gone to other departments

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Michigan City Police Department/Facebook

By Bill Carey

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — An exit interview highlighted some of the difficulties that Michigan City (Ind.) Police Department has with officers leaving to go work for neighboring departments.

Police Chief Steve Forker said that during an interview with an officer leaving Michigan City to go 12 miles away to Chesterton, there were several benefits for the officer, but money was significant.

“When I looked at the numbers with Chesterton, what he explained to us was that with four years of experience, he will be at $70,881.51,” Forker said. “Currently at the Michigan City Police Department, to reach $70,992 you have to be a 20-year patrol officer to reach that number.”

Forker said low pay has turned the Michigan City Police Department into a “training ground” for other area police departments, Northwest Times reported.

Since 2015, Michigan City has had a total of 74 officers leave the department. Of those, 22 were planned retirements, 14 unplanned retirements and 23 left for other departments.

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The department is currently short 15 officers and attracting new officers is difficult. “Currently at three years on LaPorte Police Department, they’re at $68,000. Three years at the Michigan City Police Department, currently $54,631. That’s a $14,000 difference,” Forker said.

Forker said he wants the department pay to be on par with neighboring communities so officers will want to stay and develop their career. “We are a training ground for other departments. We are investing thousands of dollars into officers and they are leaving us. And we are starting over,” Forker said.

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