Program offers down payment assistance to potential officers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Program offers down payment assistance to potential officers

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council has a new approach to put more police on the streets: help with a down payment on a new home.

Council members Shea Flinn and Edmund Ford, Jr. released a report on the down payment program Tuesday just as the council reviewed police hiring policies.

This all comes after a heated battle between council members over residency rules for Memphis police officers.

Earlier this year, the council voted to relax the rules to allow officers to live up to 20 miles outside Shelby County.

The down payment program would encourage officers - current and future - to move to Memphis by offering up to $10,000 dollars for a down payment on a home or closing costs.

The down payments would cost about a million dollars a year, and would come out of the city's general fund.

But there are several requirements.

"It has to be your primary residence," Ford said. "You also have to live on that house for five years, because remember the $10,000 or up to 10,000 would be considered a deferred loan.  So, if the police officer does not live in the home up to five years, he or she would be obligated to pay it back."

"What we've seen over the last ten years is a migration outward and want to get people migrating inward," Flinn added. "And the one thing that is on the top of everybody's mind and we can prove is that we are safe - that we are the city of good abode by lowering our crime rate."

Also Monday, the council discussed a new plan to address complaints about the hiring process.  They plan to establish an advisory board to review cases if a rejected recruit complains.

The goal is to have 2,600 officers by 2011, but they are still ironing out the details.

Powered by Frankly