MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - City of Memphis and Memphis Police Association are at odds about raises and the future of policing in the Bluff City.
"We could not come to an agreement with the administration," Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said.
MPA is the police officer union in Memphis. It has not been able to reach a compromise with city leaders about raises, benefits, and settling disputes. That is why MPA and three city council members spent Monday trying to hash out a solution.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland proposed one and two percent pay increases for police, along with a $6.1 million grant from the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission to pay bonuses for officer recruitment and retention. The council already approved the grant funds.
MPA maintains it will not turn down the grant money, but the union said the $6.1 million should've been negotiated with them and the roll-out was an effort to negotiate directly with officers instead of the union.
MPA is pushing for longevity pay, hazard duty pay for mounted and motorcycle officers, as well as a 2 percent raise across the board.
Williams said there is no incentive for officers to stay on the understaffed force and new hires just use their time on MPD to join the Marshals or FBI.
Ultimately the full Memphis City Council will have a say on how much the men and women wearing badges take home in their future paychecks.
"We are getting smarter younger guys coming here," Williams said. "They've got their bachelors, masters and PhDs, but I guess what they are coming here to get is the training, because if you can work here you can work anywhere."
The three city council members who heard the union's arguments will vote to decide if they support Mayor Strickland's side or the union's side. Then the full City Council will take up the debate.
Memphis is currently at impasse with six city unions including the fire fighters' union.