Rallings: MPD is at 'an unacceptable level' with number of officers

Rallings: MPD is at 'an unacceptable level' with number of officers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings made it very clear during an interview on Just City Memphis' new podcast Permanent Record that 2,500 MPD officers are needed on the streets.

"Our staffing level has taken a hit. We are at an unacceptable level and we've seen crime go back in the wrong direction," said Director Rallings.

Right now there are 1,943 officers within the department.

Rallings gave clear facts for why the officers are needed.

"We need 2,500 police officers because the volume of calls, almost 1 million calls. Officers are dispatched every year, 2.2 million calls came into the 911 call center last year," Rallings said.

The City of Memphis says the goal is a compliment of only 2,300.

A statement sent to us from a City Spokesperson Ursula Madden reads in full:

"Mayor Strickland's top priority is public safety and increasing the number of police officers is part of the equation to having safer streets.  A few weeks ago the City along with MPD announced the largest academy class in  five years as we work toward the goal of increasing the compliment of officers to 2300. The mayor remains committed to that goal."

But as the city works to recruit officers, MPA President Mike Williams says officers are using the department as a stepping stone to better opportunities.

"We are getting smarter, younger guys coming here they've got their Bachelors. Masters and Phds but guess what? They are coming here to get the training, because if you can work here you can work anywhere," Williams said.

A spokesperson with the city said that 2,304 is the number of officers funded in the police department's budget.  Also, until the latest class graduates, we won't know how many officers will be added to the force.

Rallings released a statement regarding the number of officers needed.

We know we can not get to 2500 by 2020 nor will we have the budget for them because it would cost approximately  $35M to add 500 officers.  Our daily report even shows staffing at 2400 sworn.

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