MPD could cut 583 positions - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD could cut 583 positions

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(WMC-TV) - If the Memphis police force is not scaled down, it could cost Memphians more money in taxes.

The administration increase funding for police by 17 percent last year. Now, it is looking at freezing hundreds of police jobs.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says a city that is annexing new territory needs a comparable police force.

"They're making deep cuts to public safety and I'm wondering if this city will be able to stand this," he said. "We've got people going into malls snatching stuff, we've got business owners being killed, shootings all over the place."

Memphis Police Department currently employees 2,483 officers. The city says the complement must be reduced to 1,900 positions to stay afloat. That comes to 583 jobs -- gone.

"We're facing constraints across the board," said Memphis Finance Director Brian Collins, who explained that several factors led to the decision, from a pension fund in the red to debt obligations. "To the extent that we can't economize there and other places across city government, the only alternative is to raise taxes, which the administration does not want to do."

It is unclear if the job freeze would affect patrol officers.

"This directly affects the citizens' safety in this city and eventually, the citizens are going to have to make it known this is not conducive to them being able to live in a safe environment," said Williams.

Collins says the city is looking for savings in all divisions to deal with a nearly $100 million budget gap.

"We're investing more money into economic development and there's not a parallel as to where we're putting just as much money back into the community," added Williams.

This discussion will ramp up to budget season, when the city council will face even more tough decisions.

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