$6M MPD grant passes city council

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A $6.1 million grant aimed at recruiting and retaining Memphis police officers unanimously passed city council on Tuesday afternoon.

The move was met with resistance from Memphis Police Association, who called the grant announcement "a slap in the face."

MSCC President Bill Gibbons said last week that the funds are coming from Memphis individuals and entities. Memphis Shelby Crime Commission isn't revealing the identities of those who donated.

"The donors don't want special or preferential treatment, and they've asked not to be identified," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Strickland said he is working to improve pay for officers while trying to recruit more to join the force.

"We are taking steps to make it better," he said.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said he is on the mayor's side.

"Anything that supports recruitment and retention, I'm going to support that," Rallings said.

That doesn't sit well with MPA President Mike Williams who has been against the grant from the start. He said the grant goes around union rules and officers just want benefits that were cut to be reinstated.

"We have told the mayor and given the mayor solutions to the problems," Williams said. "Replace the benefits. Period."

Strickland's office said as soon as the full council votes, officers would be able to start applying for the bonuses in July. More information is expected to be released as the process is worked out.

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