Police union points to officer shortage after body found at MPD impound lot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Association is responding to a body being found in a van after sitting in the impound lot for seven weeks.

Mike Williams, President of the Memphis Police Association, says a mishap like this comes down, in part, to staffing.

“First of all, there is no excuse for what happened. Somebody’s family is suffering. That individual laid in that van for 49 days,” Williams said. “This is indicative of what we’ve been saying all along, that eventually something is going to fall through the cracks. And who ultimately suffers? The citizens."

Police announced a body was found in a van at their impound lot on Feb. 5.

It had been sitting there for seven weeks after the van was moved from a crime scene.

► Man found dead in police impound lot more than 6 weeks after shooting

► Mayor Strickland on body found on MPD impound lot: ‘That was a violation, a clear violation of policy

► Background of MPD impound lot reveals history of complaints

WREG is told multiple people are required to search a vehicle before it ends up at the impound lot and in this case, sources tell us three employees reported doing so.

Williams credits the men and women in blue currently out on the streets but says it’s not enough.

The City of Memphis says there are currently 2,016 officers with the department. The goal is to have 2,300 officers by 2020.

“When we got officers working 16 hours a day, investigators working 16 hours a day, you know, eventually these guys get tired and weary. We need fresh individuals out here on the streets. That’s what the citizens of Memphis deserve," Williams said.

Williams says regardless, this is inexcusable and expects a thorough investigation into what went wrong.

“They’re going to get to the bottom of it, and those individuals responsible are probably going to be held accountable," he said.

He thinks the police should still oversee the impound lot, unless the investigation finds this to be reoccurring negligence.

"You’re going to have mistakes with the pace we’re actually working at and you see it every day with all the shootings and the homicides and the this and the that, and I think, I’m not going to take anything away from the officers or those at the impound lot, I think they’ve been doing an outstanding job, but this was just an unfortunate incident that has been brought to light and people are suffering because of it."

We reached out to MPD to see how many officers are going to be held accountable, but we did not hear back as of Thursday evening.