MPD wives protest pay cuts, pension changes

(WMC-TV) - The wives and children of Memphis police officers protested pay cuts and proposed pension changes outside a police precinct Wednesday.

Protesters held up picket signs outside the Appling Farms precinct.

"We're standing here to support our husbands and the city workers," said one protester.

The group known as "Pink Memphis" generally helps the families of injured or fallen officers, but joined the fight against increasing the possible retirement age, as well as the previously passed 4.6 percent pay cut.

"We'd like to challenge the mayor and city council to look at us, the families," said police wife Kelly Stoneman.  "We have officers that are applying for other jobs.  They're taking tests and moved to other cities."

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton was participating in a Worlds AIDS Day event at the Tillman Station precinct.

"We have absolutely no problem with the protests," said Wharton.  "We understand that fully."

Wharton said he stands firm in the belief that salary reductions and pension changes are necessary to avoid layoffs and even bankruptcy.

"I'm at ease with what we've done in terms of long term benefits and what it will do for the city as a whole," said Wharton.

The mayor said it is possible pay cuts will be restored as soon as enough cash is on hand.

Police wives and others said they plan to picket next week's Memphis City Council meeting, during which pension changes will be up for discussion.

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