Sheriff wants 30 new deputies; Mayor's staff has other ideas - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Sheriff wants 30 new deputies; Mayor's staff has other ideas

Sheriff's deputies at work (Source: WMC Action News 5) Sheriff's deputies at work (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The Shelby County sheriff and mayor are at odds on the debate to add more deputies.

Sheriff Bill Oldham asked the commission for about a $4.5 million budget increase to buy more vehicles and hire 30 more deputies.

The mayor’s administration recommended the commission not give the sheriff the money.

"What I'm saying is I need the 30 deputies,” Oldham said.

Oldham said he is not willing to accept no as an answer.

“It’s very important. I wouldn't be asking for them if it wasn't necessary for our mission,” he said.

Instead, representatives for Mayor Mark Luttrell’s administration proposed to the commission that deputies be moved from the jail and onto the streets.

They said there are extra funds built into the budget that could be released from other purposes to help fill the gap.

"There are positions, FTEs is what we call them, that are left vacant, that they only have to use in case of emergency,” Shelby County Commission Chairman Terry Roland said.

Oldham said he cannot continue doing more with less.

"I think we all know the situation here as it relates to violent crime,” Oldham said. “And 30 officers would go on the street, and that's exactly what I need."

Oldham said his request for 30 more deputies became even more crucial after it was announced Memphis Police would no longer help with security in Shelby County Schools.

"Well, there's 18 people that are no longer there, and something has to occur to fill those gaps,” Oldham said.

Oldham said what has to occur is more money from the county commission to hire the 30 new deputies.

"I'm going to say that we're going to try to get them as close to it as we possibly can,” Roland said.

Sheriff Oldham said they cannot afford for both MPD and the sheriff’s office to be short-staffed.

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