(Memphis) The Memphis Police Department and Memphis Fire Department claim their ability to protect you is about to take a major hit.
Police alone could see more than 500 people cut.
The departments say they have already cut to the bare bones because after the city budget was slashed, and now they’re expected to do it again.
Memphis City Council members aren’t sure how short on cash they’ll be for next year’s budget, but MPD and MFD are bracing for the possibility of even more cuts which will impact services.
“We are at our lowest numbers that we need to be at the fire department. There are going to be some tough challenges ahead and we don’t want to put public safety at risk,” said Fire Director Alvin Benson.
Benson says the department has shrunk by several engines, trucks and battalions.
Right now they’re getting by using “rolling brownouts.” That’s when they have to temporarily put a truck out of service.
“Brownouts is a risky strategy. It is one that we have deployed because that’s just the facts of the matter of where we are,” said Benson.
He warns firefighters are also at risk when resources are low.
The Memphis Police Department says it has also cut its spending to the minimum.
This year the department eliminated an entire recruit class, promotional testing, a half million dollars in overtime, and hundreds of officer jobs.
Police director Toney Armstrong says because of the significant officer reduction, any further cuts will reduce services people in Memphis are used to, like home alarm calls and responding to traffic accidents.
“We have went from a 2,480 man compliment to (where) we’re projecting cuts next year and could be down to a 1,900 man compliment,” said Armstrong.
Memphis city chief administrative officer George Little says the city may have to make more cuts next year or it will be forced to raise taxes again.
“Given the challenges that we have on pension and debt we are certainly going to have to put everything on the table to balance the budget without a tax increase,” said Little.