Hours-long wait at 201 Poplar keeps officers from doing their job

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Four hours is how long some police officers and deputies in Memphis have to wait to drop off suspects taken into custody.

Memphis Police Association, the local union, said this problem is nothing new for law enforcement in the city.

According to many officers, they're waiting hours outside 201 Poplar at night to bring inmates into the jail. Pictures taken Wednesday night show a long line of law enforcement cruisers lined up on Washington Avenue.

"Officers should be on the streets preventing crimes and stuff that's going on," said one woman. 

Officers said the wait starts getting bad around 7 p.m.

"It ties up cars and it ties up officers," Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said.

Williams said he's gotten hundreds of complaints over the years from officers.

"They've said the process is taking too long number one," Williams said. "They're also aware that they could be out in the streets patrolling."

He said it also adds to police overtime.

Williams said he's tried before to address the problem with MPD's command staff, but nothing has been done.

"It's at least a 3-hour process to book in one person," Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Earle Farrell confirmed.

After MPD officers reached out to WMC Action News 5 about the issue, we took their concerns to Farrell, who spoke on behalf of jail leaders.

"They're arresting more people," Farrell said. "It's like any other business, the more volume there is, the more things get backed up."

When asked if there was any way to speed up the process, Farrell said "It is what it is."

Farrell also said more intake workers wouldn't change anything.

"You still have to bring them in one at a time," Farrell said.

MPD has not responded to requests for comment about how this problem affects the department's overtime budget.

Williams said it'll likely take MPD and the sheriff's office meeting with jail leaders to see a change.

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