(WMC-TV) - Memphis Police officers who wish to remain anonymous have said they are intentionally writing fewer tickets in order to punish the city for cutting their pay this summer.
The number of tickets written by Memphis police officers dropped 30 percent in July and August compared to the same time period last year - a steady decline that began at the same time the city cut employee pay.
Friday, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton responded.
"I have not yet seen anything sound that would have me go out and say that the officers are doing anything than what they're sworn to," Wharton said.
Wharton said officers he's spoken to are offended that some are suggesting the two are related.
"We take the officers at their word," he said. "They say that they're enforcing the law."
While the timing is curious, Wharton said numbers alone aren't enough to support the accusations.
"The numbers are all over the place," Wharton said. "You really can't discern a pattern."
The police union attributes the drop of almost 18,000 citations and summons partially on morale, but they say it's mostly due to a lack of money that was funding traffic detail this time last year.
"If we were to determine that there has been instances in which officers where officers were failing or refusing to enforce the law, it will be dealt with," Wharton said.
Wharton said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is investigating.
In the meantime, "I'm not going to go out and recklessly say that there's a slowdown," Wharton said.