MEMPHIS, Tenn — Memphis police officers arrived at the Memphis Police Association headquarters all day Thursday to see what the City of Austin has to offer.
By noon, about 60 people had met with Austin recruiters about potential jobs.
” Great response. Everyone is kinda amazed,” said Austin police recruiter Sgt. Gizette Gaslin.
The Memphis Police Association provided space, but did not sponsor the event.
MPA President Mike Williams said he knows why officers are interested, “Benefits. Benefits. We don’t do this job to get rich, but officers do like to know that they are gonna be taken care of.”
Austin is offering health, dental and retirement benefits from day one, and unlike Memphis, Austin covers most of the cost.
Under the single plan, Austin officers pay $5 a month for healthcare.
In Austin, a cop with three years experience, and from an urban area with at least 50 officers, can make $42,000 a year.
After 18 weeks, that jumps to $56,000.
Then 8 weeks later to $63,900 .
After one year, the base pay for an Austin patrolman is $70,500 a year.
The maximum they can make after 16 years of service is $91,500.
“If I do 23 years and if I leave at 23 years that’s what I will be getting, 73-point-2 percent of my pay, base pay for the rest of my life,” said Sgt. Gaslin.
Compare that to Memphis Police who start out making $37,900 a year.
They are bumped to $40,600 after one year, and then $45,000 in year two.
An MPD patrolman maxes out at $53,000 base pay.
“Memphis is in the stone age as far as I am concerned. They don’t want to grow. You say you want to bring people here and expand, well you have to be progressive in your thinking,” said Williams.
Officers in Austin can also make an extra $175 dollars a month for bi-lingual pay.
The Memphis police union says it has been struggling to get that pay incentive here in Memphis, but it hasn’t happened.