Memphis City Council demands answers over patrol car numbers

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council members demanded answers from police Tuesday, after a recent Action News 5 investigation revealed the Memphis Police Department might be short on patrol cars.

The Action News 5 investigation, which included video of MPD officers sitting and waiting for patrol cars in order to start their shift, led to plenty of discussion between police and council members.

"The request for police cars and vehicles have been met without any resistance," Council Chairman Harold Collins said to MPD Deputy Director D. W. Boyd. "So we would like to now, how did that happen?"

"If all of our cars are out of the shop, no one sits around," Boyd replied. "If we have numerous cars in the shop, we might have officers sitting and waiting for cars."

Council members said the sight of idle officers shocked them.

"The story went on to say the reason these officers were sitting there is because they didn't have cars, and that the Council was cutting the budget such that these cars were not available," Collins said.

"We're usually on a three-year rotation with cars," Boyd replied. "We have cut back. We're on a four-year rotation now because of trying to meet the budget."

Some council members said the Action News 5 report was the first they heard of the patrol car shortage.

"What upsets me as someone who's been very supportive of the police is (the perception) that we're not doing something," Council member Shea Flinn said. "We'll fix it. Let us know."

According to Boyd, to deal with budget cuts, the department reduced the number of cars, and kept older models.

 "Because we keep the old cars, the maintenance costs are up and the downtime is longer," he said

But Boyd said the department will find a way to fight crime, by any means necessary.

"If we're called, we'll respond," he said. "However, we have to do it."

Council members didn't say how they plan to fix the problem, as Tuesday's discussion was to get all the facts on the table. We'll let you know how this goes.

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