Police Budget Calls For More Money, Fewer Officers

(Memphis) People who live in Memphis could soon pay more money for police protection.

After more than an hour of debates, the city finance committee approved a budget for the city police department.

However, the budget may have you seeing less officers on the streets.

The budget is set at $238 million.

Police said the $4 million increase is how much it takes to keep you safe.

“This increase is not an increase that allows us to become a more effective police department,” Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said.

The increase was approved, but the additional money does not equate more officers.

Eighty-seven percent of the budget is set aside for personnel after the department eliminated about 200 jobs through attrition.

“If you’re saying you want to reduce the size of this police department to 2,200 officers, then I can’t deliver the level of services that I’m doing now,” Armstrong explained.

Director Armstrong said limited ability to deliver services may keep officers from responding to calls for burglaries, animals, and car accidents without injuries.

“There would have to be some type of alternative police reporting as it relates to that,” Armstrong said.

Even through there was some debate, the committee also approved bringing back the department’s recruitment classes.

Memphis Police Association President Michael Williams said the classes are needed.

“There’s a critical need in a community for the citizens to feel protected and safe,” Williams explained.

There are two budget hearings remaining this year.

The next hearing will be held in two weeks where the fire department’s budget will be discussed.

Once the city’s budget is approved, changes will begin on July 1st.