In response to an officer "sickout" on Friday, Detroit Police Department Chief Robert Godbee Jr. did two things: He posted a video to Facebook praising and reassuring the police squad, and he suspended the 17 officers involved in the action.
A statement from the Detroit Police Department on Monday said some officers who called in sick and failed to report to duty on Friday in the Northeastern District were suspended pending an Internal Affairs investigation.
The officers called in sick two days after Mayor Dave Bing announced proposed cuts to the police department.
The officers in question are alleged to be in violation of State of Michigan Statute (MCL- 423.202) entitled "Participation in a Strike".
The allegations, if founded, are a breach of the public trust and as such presented a very dangerous situation for citizens of the city of Detroit and members of the Detroit Police Department.
Because of the serious nature of the allegations, and as a result of preliminary investigative findings, a number of the involved officers have been suspended pending the final results of the Internal Affairs investigation.
The first statement claimed that 17 officers had been suspended, but Godbee later revised the figure to "a number," according to the Associated Press.
Godbee's video, posted to his Facebook page Friday night, expressed his "gratitude for the professionalism of the men and women of the police department."
He also said that Bing is "literally beaming about being commander-in-chief of one of the greatest police departments in the United States of America."
Godbee did not refer to the sick-out directly, but addressed some of the officers' concerns.
"There has been a lot of wild rumors going around about 500 or 600 layoffs, but I wanted to reassure you that nothing could be further from the truth."
Godbee also mentioned his own experience getting a pink slip in 1990.
"What kept me motivated was I didn't want to be the one who was at home and I left one of my partners vulnerable. ... I didn't want to abandon a citizen who might have needed my help."
A Tuesday afternoon meeting with the Detroit Police Department Board of Commissioners will discuss the officers' suspension, according to WDIV.
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