Official says police continue to work hard at recruitment

A help wanted ad received a lot of attention Monday in the War on Crime.

The newspaper ad, for the Memphis Police Department, says people who failed the psychological part of the police exam in years past are encouraged to reapply.  A spokesperson for the department said Monday the language in the advertisement was simply part of department policy, but the ad is important recruitment tool for police.

As Memphis grows, and the crime rate follows, so does the need for more Memphis police officers according to the Memphis Police Department and the union that represent officers.   According to Tommy Turner of the Memphis Police Association, the same number of officers are patrolling streets now as were two years ago.  Meanwhile, more areas have been annexed into the city and crime has risen.

"There's 'X' number of calls going out, and only 'X' number of officers to handle them and go as quickly as you can to the next one, and the next one," Turner said.

A new hire on the Memphis police force is nearly $36,400 per year.  Chances of an increase are slim after the police union was recently denied additional increases.  Potential officers have been hired by other cities who come in to Memphis and hold job fairs, often paying higher salaries and signing bonuses.

Turner said the recent requirement for officers to live within Memphis city limits has hurt recruitment.

"People already have established residences in the county, Bartlett, Millington other places," he said. "It's quite expensive to pack up and move to start a job often starting out at a lower salary."
Still, both Turner and MPD know there are people out there who want to be police officers no matter what, and they're hoping to hear from them soon.