Austin Police Department tries to swoop up Memphis officers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Recruiters with the police department in Austin, Texas are in town looking for new employees.

Memphis Police Association leaders told us a lot of officers are interested after the city changed their benefits.

"Dallas has been here. Aurora, Colorado was here a couple of weeks ago. Louisville was here and Nashville," said Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams.

Austin Police will  set up shop at the Memphis Police Association hoping to find any current officers willing to move.

"This is going to turn into a training ground. You are going to have officers who citizens pay $70,000 to train, and then once they get the training, they go other places," said Williams.

Williams said after the city hiked health care costs for retirees to pay for the pension, more and more officers are leaving the department.

"Today, we also lost about three to five guys to work at the railroads," said Williams.

Tuesday, Mayor A C Wharton said he would hate to see anyone leave, "We will not hold that against them. They have families to look out for. They have to do what's best for themselves. I understand."

"We can say, 'I understand. We know they are leaving,' but why are we paying $70,000 to train them, and these other cities are getting our well-trained officers?" said Williams.

The Austin Police Department will be at the MPA building in downtown Memphis starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Williams said the MPA has always helped officers find new opportunities.


  • Think about it first

    It is downright disgusting how this city treats it’s first responders . I think the next elections will show that voters like myself agree. We will probably realize the price of dumping all these employees and the karma for doing people so wrong ethically , far too late. For any government figure to say ” I hate to see them go” is just outrageous. Some appreciate you but I sure cannot blame you guys for leaving. One of my neighbors told me the other day ” that town is quickly turning into athe septic tank of tn”

  • Pride in Memphis

    There are some things that you have to look at. Why are these other cities looking so strongly outside their own cities for Officers. Are their crime rate that high that no one in their city be trusted, are their officer that corrupt that they are having a major turn over, are their taxes that high that their officers are leaving or is the pay that poor that no one in their city willing to work as a Police Officer. I know there is a problem with insurance and budgeting but that is going on everywhere. Most Police officer didn’t take the job because of their pension but because this is what they wanted to do. It seem that the city has made a lot of dumb moves that wasn’t voted on by the tax payer. So why not try to change things when you vote. Stop voting for the same old ones that don’t seem to want to listen to the people. Get those old ones out and bring new one’s in. Don’t always believe the person that you think is working for you by word of mouth but vote for the one’s that show in their action. We didn’t need traffic camera, new parking meters we need someone that has their city and it’s people at heart..

    • James

      The departments coming here to recruit have significantly better packages. For example, Austin PD starts out at 70k a year and tops out at 95k for patrolman compared to 53k for Memphis. Austin allows it’s officers to draw 82% of pay after 25 years of service compared to 62.5% for Memphis. There is also mobility in the department and promotion opportunities unlike here. You have patrolmen with 15+ years in a car because there has been 2 Sgt promotion tests in the last 15 years. Plus Texas just like Tennessee has no income tax. People are leaving this place because there is no incentive to stay here. There have been no raises in over 6 years and cost of living has gone up due to inflation. You can’t blame folks for wanting to make more money to support their families. Many have said that if they don’t like it, seek employment elsewhere. Well that is what these employees are doing. The police department is losing people so fast that the city can replace them fast enough.

      • Gonebabygone

        Austin can afford it as well, because people actually want to live there. They aren’t being run over poverty class rulers. They value their middle and upper class for more than the money in their pockets.

      • Don

        Hey I wonder if Austin PD would take a 76 year old ex-police officer? I would love to live and work in Austin.

  • bambam84

    Um, if they’re refusing to work for us at the first sign of trouble (not to mention committing major medical fraud by receiving FAKE Absentee Slips), what in the world makes you think they’re not going to ditch you guys when the going gets tough?
    Good riddance. It’s actually been fairly quiet around here since this broke. Maybe time to downsize the police “force” anyway.

    • James


      Don’t worry you will be getting your wish very soon when these guys ditch this dump. As for you griping about fraudulent sick notes, how is that any different from the majority in this city committing welfare fraud? They are just taking advantage of a system like everyone else. Don’t hate them for it.

    • Jim

      Your wish is being granted bambam. The creme of the crop of policemen and firemen are leaving Memphis in droves. Soon your fair city will be just like big brother Detroit. Note: In Detroit it takes 30 minutes to an hour to get a response for a 911 call.

      • Don

        Things would be a lot better if they made mistake of hiring Memphis’ Toney Armstrong. I doubt if they did the rest of the police would leave when he got there.

  • Jim

    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.”

  • Hard Truths

    To go to Austin or Dallas, a cop needs to speak Spanish.

    Our locals can barely speak English. It’s either Delta Ebonics or redneck pidgin drawl.

    Dallas and Austin have higher standards, too, than does Memphis.

    This is a PR stunt by MPA. Our cops are, by and large, NOT employable anywhere else.

  • wtf

    I’m so tire if u guys cry about the police around here. You do the job if I don’t like us. U liberal a$$ wouldn’t last a day before some dude high off his but was kicking your a$$. Memphis is different these streets don’t care. To the officers leaving congrats I’m right behind yah

  • wtf

    To hard truth I think u caught a cop giving ur woman the night stick. Just because u couldn’t do the job doesn’t mean the officers we have aren’t capable of doing it here or anywhere else

  • Dr. JohnS

    You may be right about the pay and cost of living, but one thing that has to be a big improvement is the respect for the officers given by the city government. Our City council and mayor has zero respect for the work they do as evidenced by the lack of paying pensions and other benefits which they promised.

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