MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There’s concern about a shortage of police officers on the streets of Memphis.
Officers say precinct wards are at a critical low when it comes to the number of officers patrolling to protect you.
The Memphis Police Association says some wards often only have one officer on duty, and sometimes, none at all.
“We don’t have enough officers,” said Mike Williams, president of the Memphis Police Association.
Officers tell WREG it’s not uncommon for only one officer to be covering an entire ward, when the standard should be at least two officers.
MPD reports no wards are left uncovered and will hold officers to work overtime if needed, but Williams says some wards are being left with no police coverage at all.
Officers tell WREG they end up not wanting to respond to violent offenses in progress, because they don’t know how long it will be until back-up gets there.
“A lot of times we have to react during a split second and it’s hard when you have to second guess yourself and second guess your safety,” said Williams.
Williams said Memphis could be considered at a critical low when it comes to officers.
“Officers are leaving because they don`t see a future here in the city of Memphis.”
Now that the city council approved its budget cuts and reduced retirees’ benefits, increased premiums on health insurance and eliminated insurance for spouses already employed, Williams said it’s going to be even more difficult to replace the 300 officers we are already down.
“A lot of these guys are stressed out because they are asking them to do more with less.”
“We need them for protection and they should give them whatever they want or what they need,” said Yvonne Pittman, a Whitehaven resident.
Pittman lives in the Raines precinct, an area where police get about 100,000 calls for help each year.
Williams said right now Raines is not fully staffed by our men in blue
“It makes me feel lousy, scared and unsure,” said Pittman.
We asked MPD how many new recruit classes are going on right now. Their answer was ‘none.’