Memphis residents weigh in on “Blue Flu”

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With fewer police officers out on the streets of Memphis, some wonder if the – puts their safety at risk.

Ellen Green is from australia and doesn’t go many places around town without her protection — her dog, Boo.

“This is like the least safe place I’ve ever lived,” Green said.

She’s been worried about hundreds of cops calling in sick, angry over city cuts to the pension and health benefits.

“I hope whatever’s going on gets resolved,” Green said.

Almost everyone WREG spoke with said they support officers, but don’t fully understand how much their benefits are getting cut or if the city has a good point.

“They should be taken care of , but I don’t know enough about what they get to have a strong opinion about it,” one resident said.

Most people want to hear more from the city on why they feel the cuts are fair.

But whether people are upset about the current sick out, that opinion was split right down the middle.

“I’m sure officers will keep calling out, but as far as coverage for the city, I’m sure we’ll still be covered,” Larue Calliet said.

“It kinda bothers me because if they’re not here to protect us, who will?” Sam Thompson said.

5 comments

  • Get Informed

    As it stands if an officer gets hurt in the line of duty and has to have an in the line of duty retirement, he will have no insurance from the city essentially because it will cost too much. I believe I in the past it has been the case that if fire or police get hurt they will pay around 300 bucks a month for family coverage as I understand it. Now it would be around 1500 a month or even more, as I understand it. This could eat up half or even more of the average pension payment a month depending on rank. It is a safety risk to the public to tell officers and firemen that if you get hurt running in that burning building to save someone, your family will not have health insurance or it will cost so much it will take so much of the pension payment it will reduce their standard of living considerably, if not cost them their family home, if they are injured badly and forced off the job. Some may choose to not ever risk getting hurt for any reason to avoid putting their families in jeopardy. By the way the pension per Segal, the city councils hired actuary, is one of the strongest ones he has dealt with. The national average to consider a pension healthy is 80%. I understand he said it to be 83% funded at his numbers(ask him), the ones he says he stands by 100%. His numbers are more in the line with the actuary the police and hired and the one the fire dept hired. He said he raised his number to reach an accord with the Mayor’s actuary but only in the interest of compromise not because he thinks they are correct. This can all be viewed online in the council committee meetings at memphiscitycouncil.com. So he advised the city council has not contributed the 6.2 % they are supposed to put in for many years. He advised the employees all contributed their required amount which for most is 7.5% to over 8% because it is payroll deducted every check. They made their payments. Memphis is the only major city in the US that I have found that contributes less to a pension than the employee. Pensions are great tools in the public and private (yes private) sectors when they are run correctly and reasonably. If the council had funded the pension correctly, per the Segal actuary, (ask him) he would not need to be here. So to give drastic and catastrophic cuts to elderly and disabled retirees( to make up for the council not making the agreed pension payments year after year), some of whom are in Chemo treatments right now, and price insurance to make them pay 1500 or 1800 or gosh knows what to retain insurance (if they can even get it) when they were used to paying around 300 after they have expected this benefit for 25 to 35 years, well it just is not right. Its horribly wrong ethically and morally every way you look at it. Many feel like they got ripped off by the pension payments being shorted and then because the state is making the city “fix the pension” , the employees are getting ripped off again to fill the hole. Would you tell a kid to mow your lawn for 50 bucks and when he got through doing a great job and hand him a 5 dollar bill and slam the door in his face? Same concept with far more dire results. Catastrophic results. The savings from essentially taking the insurance from retirees is estimated at 23 million. How much are we going to spend on that mall in Frazier, the walking bridge over the river? Beale Street landing ( I think it was 18 million estimated originally and now I believe over 40 million and part of it I hear was under water recently. I digress.

  • Wallace

    Yes, I’m one of those retired who has cancer, I can’t afford the city’s new Insurance rates and I won’t be able to get insurance any where because of the cancer

  • MPD Officcer

    I will be taking my precious time on any “high risk calls” hoping that the chaos is over before i arrive, atleast until this friday when i call in sick. & i wont be returning anytime soon…#WakeUpPpl

  • Kay Doniphan

    the reason the people who have the blue flu aren’t worried about the people of Memphis is that they or their families don’t live in the city of Memphis…Most of the police and firemen both current or retired do not live here…so why do they care if the city raises taxes, as long as it doesn’t effect them in any way.

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