Dallas Police leaders discuss problems, Memphis leaders warn possible Mid-South recruits

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Doom and gloom about fear and violence but it's not in Memphis. It's in Dallas, Texas. The same city trying to recruit Mid-South police officers.

Dallas' Police Union is raising the alarm about pay, benefits and pension plans even as the department tries to lure Memphis' best and brightest.

Dallas officers were in the Mid-South a few weeks ago recruiting in Memphis and Millington.

On Tuesday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued a warning as Dallas tries to tempt officers here in the Mid-South of what it calls greener pastures.

"I just urge current officers here in Memphis to pause and really investigate what's going on in Dallas because their pension situation is a lot worse than ours," said Strickland.

For two years the Memphis Police Association repeatedly said it understood why officers would want to go to Dallas because of their better pay and benefits.

However, new information obtained by the Associated Press shows the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams.

The Texas Pension Review Board just announced it's pension plan is only 45 percent funded and is scheduled to run out of money in 15 years.

Dallas' Police Chief and Union President recently abruptly announced their retirements. The union leader admitted it's because of the pension problem. Williams said he knows the dangers.

"I am concerned, last year city council made a decision to increase the amount or percentage that they can actually invest in development which as you note in that article was one of the mistakes the Dallas City Council made," explained Williams.

Mayor Strickland said Dallas' situation shows Memphis can be competitive.

"There are certain things in Memphis that are better than our sister cities, we have a higher college incentive than most other cities," said Strickland.

Williams said contrary to some beliefs his association does not invite other police departments to recruit in the city but last year told WREG MPA does help officers who might be looking for new jobs because of changes in benefits and pay.

Even if officers are worried about the dangers in Dallas, Williams said there are plenty of other agencies that can recruit Memphis Police too but warns officers to always do their research.

"Be it the FBI, be it the Secret Service, be it DeSoto County or Shelby County that you look going into a situation that it's going to be conducive to the betterment of your career," said Williams.

An email to the Dallas Police Union President requesting a comment was not answered.