Armstrong candid about impact cuts have on police - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Armstrong candid about impact cuts have on police

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong (file photo) Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong (file photo)

(WMC-TV) - Memphis public safety workers are battling with city leaders over a recent pay cut and proposed pension cuts.  

Tuesday, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong spoke candidly about the impact of the fight on the department.

Armstrong said he is not afraid to face the facts.

"Any time you have a reduction in benefits or salaries, it does have an effect on morale," he said.

Already this year, police have taken a 4.6 percent pay cut, and pension cuts are under negotiation. Still, Armstrong has faith in his team.

"It's challenging for our staff to try to keep morale up, but for the most part our officers understand," he said. "They're professional. They understand that they still have a responsibility to the public and they're spin their jobs."

Shortly before Armstrong became police director, studies showed a 12 percent drop in Memphis crime. Though whispers have circulated among rank and file that the statistic is questionable, Armstrong doesn't want crime the go anywhere but down - even as he operates with less resources.

"I think we are hoping that our officers get it," he said. "We are hoping that they understand that in these tough economic times this was what the administration felt was a necessary step to keep everybody employed."

Armstrong said his goal is to keep his officers' focus on one duty: Keeping the community safe.

"We are hoping that they understand the oath that they took," he said. "We still have an obligation, we still have a mass amount of responsibility to our public, and we still expect them to go out and do their jobs."

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