updated 2/2/2005 8:11:16 PM ET 2005-02-03T01:11:16

Twenty-six police recruits are getting an extra lesson at the training academy this week: Salute the chief.

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When Chief Ella Bully-Cummings recently met with the recruits, they failed to salute her, as called for in department rules. She ordered an extra week of training for that and other gaps in the group’s knowledge.

“The chief came into a room and no one came to attention,” police spokesman James Tate said. The rookie cops were also slow to salute the chief at their graduation last Thursday, he said.

“This was not a punishment. ... This class is no better or worse than others we have had,” Tate said. “But when simple protocol is not adhered to, then there must be a measure in place that provides additional training.”

The spokesman said he didn’t know what the recruits were studying during the extra week.

A police union official called the punishment ludicrous.

“What’s the purpose of them staying another week in the academy when the citizens of the city of Detroit need help?” said Paul Stewart, vice president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. “Crime is rampant. We don’t need them in the academy standing at attention.”

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