Companies help fund Memphis Police Department recruitment

Companies help fund Memphis Police Department recruitment

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Donors who put the money behind Memphis Police Department’s latest recruitment efforts are helping them keep the streets safe.

The Crime Commission report released Thursday reveals that the Memphis is making headway in increasing the number of police officers, something that has not happened in the past few years.

"Violent crime is really our biggest challenge,” said Crime Commission President Bill Gibbons in 2017. “This is a major step toward addressing that challenge."

In 2017, it was announced private donors had given a $6.1 million grant to help with recruiting and retaining officers. Apparently that money has had an impact.

New data revealed the number of officers is now 2,003 crossing the 2,000 threshold and heading to a goal of 2,300 officers by 2020.

The report shows the Memphis Police Department lost officers with resignations outnumbering retirements in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Memphis Police Association said in 2017 that the grant being used the way it was, was a slap in the face. They said better insurance would have been a better place to put the money.

For the first time, the Crime Commission revealed the names of the 16 private companies that donated the money. Those include AutoZone, FedEx, and International Paper.

The Crime Commission said after a net loss of over 20 percent of its police force, Memphis is now recruiting more officers than are leaving.

Recent numbers released show violent crime is down in Memphis and Shelby County.

Mike Williams with the Memphis Police Association did not want to comment. He told WMC5 he wants to look at the numbers and make comparisons first.

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