More Memphis Recruits Could Have A Uniform If Rules Change

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(Memphis) Thousands apply for jobs within the Memphis Police Department every year, but we wanted to know who got the final word about hiring. 

That's because the hiring practices of the police department are under fire after a string of recent arrests of officers.

.The On Your Side Investigators are looking into the practices and found out if one Memphis councilman gets his way, more new recruits could already have a uniform in their closet.

The final word on who's gets accepted to a police recruiting class right now rests with Memphis Police, but at one time it was the decision of the Human Resources Division at city hall.

In light of the recent arrests, we wanted to know if the Mayor was considering a change again.

Mayor A C Wharton said, "I think the standards can be applied by MPD. They're in close consultation with us so I don't think where its located make that big of a difference."

The responsibility of hiring police officers has bounced back and forth from city hall to the police department.

Wharton says he doesn't think the division of city government is the issue but the standards and requirements being used, "I do believe we need to look at the education requirements or experience that could be substituted."

Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins sits on the committee that reviews police policies, "What we might want to do is look at how we can add college if necessary, but specially target officers with a military background."

Collins believes a solution to having less troubled cops on the force might lie with the City's ability to recruit more from the military.

"There are a number of military bases within a six hour drive maybe we can do some recruiting get them into Memphis and hire them as officers. A lot of military personnel are coming back from Afghanistan," said Collins.

Collins says some of those returning will be looking for new careers, "They already have the discipline. They already understand how to follow orders and directions and they're already conscious of the fact that they're in a uniform."

However, Councilman Jim Strickland says he's not convinced more military experience is what's needed.

About half of the 21 officers fired over the last four years for due cause had military experience.

Only three had a bachelor's degree. That's why he believes more education is the key to fewer corrupt cops.