Memphis police union blasts council after rejecting pay raises

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis police and firefighters won't be getting a raise this year, but it turns out the city is considering a new way to let them earn extra cash.

The Memphis Police Association (MPA) is not happy with the idea of performance-based bonuses.

"We're against it," MPA President Mike Williams said. "We're definitely against it."

During Tuesday's city council meeting, the city denied the organizations' request for three-percent increase in pay for patrolman and five-percent increase for sergeants.

Instead, the city was considering offering bonuses based on performance.

"But now you're telling police officers your bonus is going to be dependent on your arrest rate?" Williams said. "Your ticket writing rate? What is it going to be dependent on?"

"I think that's really ridiculous to speculate and put that out, and no one even mentioned that being a part of the criteria to receive a bonus," said Memphis City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd.

Boyd said it's his understanding that the bonuses will be based on things like attendance and work ethic.

He said he's not sure if he will support the idea until a firm plan is presented, but he is sure that the city can't afford to pay more than the 72 percent of the city's budget already dedicated to public safety.

"At some point in time there has to be a level of balance, just because you have a badge and a gun doesn't necessarily mean you get all the city's money," Boyd said.

But the Memphis police and firefighters unions hope Memphis voters are on their side.

Thirty-seven-thousand people have signed a petition in hopes of getting a referendum which would allow residents to vote on a half-cent sales tax to restore their health care an pension benefits.

"In order for police officers to deal with the type of crime that we're dealing with in this city than you have to have an expectation that they want to be compensated," Williams said.

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