Union Says Police Overtime Cuts Threatens Officers Safety

Posted on: 5:58 pm, December 19, 2012, by , updated on: 06:20pm, December 19, 2012

(Memphis) The death of Officer Martoiya Lang is raising questions about whether a waning city police services budget is making it unsafe for officers.  

“I’ve researched that. I’ve reached out to the commanders of both groups the tact unit and the organized crime unit and there was not a request made by the organized crime unit to the tact unit to help them execute this particular warrant,” said Memphis Police Dir. Toney Armstrong.

Armstrong is adamant budget cuts are not putting his officers in jeopardy.

Earlier this week, the Memphis Police Association President said an officer told him Friday’s undercover team wanted help from the highly trained tact unit.

Today, he told me that request never made it through the chain of command.

MPA President Officer Mike Williams said, “I have talked to the director, deputy director to see if a request had been put in. They said no request had been put in.”

However, Williams is concerned about the future and shootings like last weeks on Mendenhall Cove where Officer Martoiya Lang was killed.

Williams says in the past the city by-passed sending the tact unit to cut down on overtime costs.

“I know there have been cases where Tact has been called, if not this specific one, that overtime has been a problem,” said Williams.

Whether it’s overtime or pay cuts, police are worried about what’s going to happen, especially with the city talking about making even more cuts.

“The city’s administration would say that 60% of the city’s budget goes toward personnel. It’s supposed to. That’s what citizens pay their money for, for services. We don’t sell commodities. We sell services,“ said Williams.