Mayor: MPD has lowest number of officers in a decade

Updated: Jul. 21, 2017 at 3:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland revealed unsettling statistics regarding the Memphis Police Department staffing challenges, but he made sure to add a silver lining.

Right now, MPD has 1,915 officers employed, which is the lowest number in at least a decade. In November 2011, the department had 2,452 officers.

Strickland assured the public that staffing Memphis Police Department has been a "key area of emphasis," and because of that, the largest class in seven years will graduate from the academy in a few short weeks.

In his newsletter, the mayor listed the following steps his administration has taken -- and continues to take -- to recruit more police officers.

  • The largest recruit class in seven years is currently at the academy.
  • Two classes are funded in this budget.
  • The next class starts Aug. 28, with a goal of 100 recruits.
  • We expanded recruitment to neighboring cities; recent visits to Birmingham, Jackson (Miss.) and Little Rock increased our lateral recruiting applications by 30 percent.
  • We worked to fix an antiquated hiring process -- we're now allowing candidates to apply online, for instance, which has increased our applications by 70 percent.
  • We brought back the PST program as a force multiplier to allow commissioned officers to focus on violent crime and created the Blue Path program as a pipeline to become a PST.
  • We landed a nationally unprecedented $6.1 million grant for retention bonuses and to boost recruiting.
  • Officer compensation has improved, including three pay increases in 18 months and the restoration of pre-65 health insurance subsidies.

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