MPD on high alert due to recent violence against officers

MPD on high alert due to recent violence against officers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department is on high alert after seeing violence against officers across the country.

The heightened awareness is designed to help keep officers safe, as well as citizens.

"Well, it's tense. You know, it's tough," Interim Director Michael Rallings said. "But, you know, our officers are resilient."

In a news conference Sunday night, Rallings said his department was on a level three alert, meaning all officers are working and all overtime is approved.

To keep those officers safe, he said they have officers standing guard outside each precinct and officers are doubled up when on patrol.

An MPD spokesperson said there are many other steps the department has taken to keep officers safe, but they are not releasing those details to the public for safety reasons.

Mike Williams, President of the Memphis Police association, said longer hours mean added tension.

"They're focused and anxious," Williams said. "They're not having enough downtime to decompress."

Since attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, officers are on edge because they've seen the very citizens they are sworn to protect, turn around and ambush them.

"Officers are torn because you have officers that are out here protecting the community, and they feel as though they're being targeted," Williams said.

He said most officers are standing strong through the thick of it, but others have come forward second guessing their choice in occupation.

Despite the seeming hostility against officers seen around the country, Rallings said it's the support from the public that keeps officers going.

"I can't count how many people I meet who just say, 'You know what Director, we are praying for you guys. We are praying for you; we're praying for this city.'"

Rob Ray is one of the owners of Belly Acres in Overton Square. He said on top of the discount they regularly give law enforcement, many patrons are stepping up to pick up the tab for officers who come in to eat.

"They're really surprised when it happens. They don't expect it," Ray said. "It really touches all the people here: anybody who sees it."

One MPD supporter picked up a $187 tab for officers eating at Logan's Roadhouse.

"The respect level there, you can really tell that they feel good that someone has their back while they have ours," Ray said.

A spokesman from Shelby County Sheriff's Office said that if MPD officers get worn down and need some assistance--since they're working so much--deputies are ready to step in and fill the gaps.

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