(Memphis) In light of three officer-involved shootings since the start of the year, Memphis police have decided to 'double-up'. That means two officer in patrol cars, instead of one.
This move is about safety for the police officers.
“If you are in a one-man car and you show-up to a scene where you are confronted by a bad guy then you might be with that bad guy by yourself,” said Mike Williams of the Memphis Police Association.
In order to prevent that, Police Director Toney Armstrong is making sure officers have automatic back-up.
“I can see some merit in doubling people up but it’s like a give and take,” said Williams.
Williams says officers doubling-up means there are going to be less patrol cars on the streets.
“That means their reaction times are going to be a little longer,” he said. “They are probably going to be backed-up on calls.”
And Williams says this comes at a time when the number of officers is at a record-low in Memphis. He says more than 200 officers have left the department since July 2012 and he has a list of more planning to resign, “Now they are going to be doubled-up. I would say ‘be patient’."
Williams says doubling-up may help deter future officer-involved shootings since bad guys are less likely to act-out with more officers around, but in general, Williams sees this move by the police director as a way to just keep officer's safe. It’s something he supports, “If he feels it’s for officers safety, hey, I want to keep officers safe. I do.”
The police department says officers doubling-up is at the discretion of each precinct supervisor so if the supervisor feels the precinct will be short-staffed, they won’t do it. The department tells us, no matter what, it will have "adequate coverage to address all police needs.