Tempers flare over MPD budget - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tempers flare over MPD budget

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(WMC-TV) - Tempers flared at the Memphis City Council meeting over changes to the police department's budget. The proposed 2014 budget is about $4 million more than last year.

A council committee approved it, but cuts could be coming before final approval.

Council members say safety is critical, but that does not mean MPD should get a bottomless bankroll.

"We're not taking boots off the street, we're not taking guns and bullet-proof vests out of their cars," said Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins.

Councilman Collins said fiscal responsibility is critical with such a tight budget.

One councilman suggested subcontracting non-police calls, like alarms and dog calls.

Councilman Lee Harris says it sends the wrong message for the department to double its lawsuit money to $1.5 million.

"We need to get out of the business of making lawyers wealthy," he said.

Collins criticized the department for requesting money to pay for two police training classes this budget year.

"They know and we know its takes eight months to set up a test, one test," said Collins. "It doesn't add up."

"When you take away from that division of government, you're taking away from the citizens of Memphis," added Councilman Joe Brown.

The budget must go through three readings before it is approved.

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