City Council to investigate shortage of police cars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City Council to investigate shortage of police cars

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Police are often called upon to serve and to protect, but what happens when they are lacking the cars to do their jobs?

An Action News 5 investigation recently revealed that Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin requested 200 police cars from the Memphis City Council this year.  But because of budget cuts, he only got 145.  

Tuesday, members of the Memphis City Council responded to that story.

"I've been on the council since 2007," Jim Strickland said. "We have never reduced the budget for police cars or any police equipment.  We have never been told by the police department they didn't have enough cars."

"I thinks it's very important that council members get to the bottom of why this is occurring, if it's occurring, and how we can handle it," council member Harold Collins added.

When Action News 5 went to the Memphis Police Department's Raines Station, we discovered seven two-officer units ready to work, but only one car for them to use.  Some officers had to sit and wait for a police vehicle before they could hit the streets.

Director Godwin said he got 55 fewer cars than he asked for this year, and he was concerned the city may force him to make more cuts. Tuesday, Action News 5 asked him if there is still a shortage of cars.

"No, we're in good shape right now," he said. "We like to get cars repaired. I think sometimes you have some issues. You don't know when things are going to break down, air conditioners go out, but other than that we're going to be okay."

"I think part of not discussing it today was the fact that he understood that the council was sort of concerned about his comments," Collins said.

Collins said he has presented a copy of every budget Godwin has prepared since Godwin took office in 2005, so council members can review the data.  Collins said the council could review the matter again in a couple weeks.

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