Police officer shooting increases tension in city benefits battl - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police officer shooting increases tension in city benefits battle

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The shooting of a Memphis police officer added ammunition to the benefits battle brewing in Memphis.

Memphis Police Association president Michael Williams said the shooting of a Organized Crime Unit officer Thursday, should serve as a reminder to the city that officers deserve a raise and better benefits.

"This is the irony, that something like this would happen the day after they would not sit down at the table with us," said Williams. "You [officers] have the potential of being shot on your job and you know this every day."

The city rejected the union's $41 million employee contract proposal Wednesday citing an already stretched budget.

"The choices are just so limited," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. "There are no good, good perfect choices."

The battle is now in a seven-day "cooling off" period and will soon go before the city council.

At the police union headquarters on Jefferson Avenue, Williams said he talks to many officers on the street every day and the morale is low and recruitment is down.

"They feel they've been disrespected and feel the city is prioritizing economic development over core services of the citizens and taking care of the employees," explained Williams.

Memphis Fire Association president Thomas Malone echoed Williams saying the fire union faces a similar situation.

"You can only push somebody so far and they break and you see what's happening now; we've got people leaving in droves," said Malone.

Memphis residents weighed in on the controversy. Some agree with the unions' demand for raises.

"They come out and put their life on the line every day and I believe they should get what they [fire and police unions] want," said Patricia Riley.

Others had contrasting views.

"They know from the beginning that that's something they are exposing themselves to so as far as that goes they shouldn't demand it just based off that," said David Sanchez.

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