MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The head of the Memphis Police Association is using Facebook to bring attention to what he calls an epidemic of crime in Memphis.
Michael Williams posted about his frustration with recent crimes and what he calls a lack of support from the city.
“There were five shootings last night, three stabbings and a murder,” Williams said. “On Mothers’ Day there were ten homicides in one day. I’ve never heard of that, and I’ve been on this department for 16 years.”
Some, like Memphis City Council Chairman Jim Strickland, said Williams may be hurting the very people he is meant to stand up for.
“It does concern me a little bit that the union is complaining about the high crime rate and in sort of a way, blaming the officers they’re supposed to be representing,” Strickland said.
However, Williams said he doesn’t understand why anyone would disagree with his post and thinks most would agree with his outlook.
“There’s an epidemic around here, and summer hasn’t even materialized yet,” he warned.
He said there is not enough funding for public safety in Memphis’ budget, and police need better benefits.
Strickland said Williams is exaggerating, and his numbers are off. He insists crime is down.
“We have more officers than we had five years ago, ten years ago, 20 years ago,” he said.
Still, Williams insists the city could do more, and Strickland said that is where they land on common ground.
“I do agree with him that public safety has to be our number one priority,” Strickland said.
He added he thinks the solution is to fully implement Blue Crush, an effort to get more officers in areas of high crime in the city.