Officials Skeptical About Memphis Public Safety Survey

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(Memphis) A new study released online lists Memphis among the cities having a high percentage of public safety employees compared to population.

It may sound good, but local police and firefighters are skeptical.

The study done by the website NerdWallet ranked Memphis 5th out of 239 cities for public safety.

It may sound like a great thing, and Mike Williams with the Memphis Police Association said it would be, if it was true.

"This has no indication of where we are currently," Williams said.

The study states there are more than 2,800 police staff in the city.

Williams told us the information is three years old, so that number is off by more than 350 officers.

The company that did the survey says the information is from 2012.

The survey said MPD put 90 percent of its budget toward personnel in 2011.

It also said there are almost 2,000 fire fighters in the city, or 30 per 10,000 people.

Officials the Memphis fire fighters union said that information is also out of date.

"The Memphis Fire Department has over 100 less firefighters than we had three years ago," union vice president Joe Newman said.

Williams is frustrated with the findings, saying they could give people a false sense of security.

"How do you feel walking around Memphis?" he asked. "If you answer honestly, you feel safe in some parts and in other parts you may not feel as safe."

Public safety officials think Memphis has a long way to go.

"We think those numbers need to be back up to where they were several years ago so that we can provide the adequate response."

It is response that Williams said will allow people to feel safe here.

"I was laying in my bed the other night, and I heard gun fire all over the place... Laying in my bed. I'm concerned!"

As of this year, the city has about 2,450 police officers on staff and about 1,600 fire fighters.

Chris Rein with NerdWallet sent us this statement via email, "I disagree that the study gives people a false sense of security as the article states. In the key takeaways section, the study specifically states that "a higher ratio of police staff to population does not necessarily ensure low crime rates." We provide readers with a link to as a resource for them to see exactly where crime is occurring most frequently in each city, precisely because we are not making any claims about safety."


  • kay

    The police and fire have a thankless job. They deserve every penny they earn. Pensions are in trouble. The mayor wants to do away with paying their health care for retirees, which is horrible. They earned it.
    Most police officers were street officers and does not and did not and will not earn the type of retirement money chief Armstrong will earn.
    He will be able to pay for insurance, most others will not. I agree with
    a lot of posters regarding this town will be another Detroit. Move and get away while you can. Officers that are retired now, good luck, because most will be working until death. they worked so hard and for what, nothing.

    • canadianwhiskeygirl

      Kay, a very.thankless job. Their lives are at stake every.single minute. Some of them are extremely despised too…because they were “just” doing their jobs…what it required them by law to do

      • Hard Truths

        They are NOT despised for doing their job.

        They are despised because they are abusive, rude, confrontational, bullies who revel in acting like a STREET GANG.

        They have lost the middle class — the taxpayers. The decent cops are in this sad situation in Memphis because of MPD leadership — who have not reined in. much less FIRED, their many THUG brothers and sisters. And thugs come in ALL races.

        Memphis has a corrupt, incompetent, abusive, BAD Third World police department. They don’t have the intelligence, the integrity, or the communication skills to do their job right.

        So they revert to THUG behavior.

        Intimidation and abuse, NOT “to serve and protect”.

  • Chris Williams jr

    Mike Williams is the DUMBEST person alive. He thrives off the plight of the city. He wants the city to deteriorate so Tony Armstrong can look bad. Jealousy is a disease Mike..

    • Hard Truths

      Tony Armstrong is no rocket scientist, either.

      Of course, he is in an impossible position. The city is floating on bankruptcy, and he can’t find officers with IQs of even 85.

      But — is he really the best person they could have found for the job?

      REALLY? Who believes that?

      He is profoundly unimpressive, on camera and in person. DUMB.

  • MikeBarret

    Memphis is a great city for public safety as long as you avoid the ghetto. NerdWallet what the heck is that? Who cares about a survey from some unheard of web site. rates Memphis #1 for clean sidewalks let’s get some breaking news action!

  • Doctor Cyclops

    According to a city spokesperson, $6,900 will be placed into an interest-bearing retirement account each month until Armstrong retires in 2017. When he retires, he will receive that money in an estimated sum of around $250,000. After that, he will continue to collect $6,900 each month, which is a percentage derived from a combination of his salary and how long he served on the force.

  • ChrisWilliamsisaBigDummy

    Chris Williams isn’t Mike Williams your cousin? Cause both of you are about dumber than a rock.

  • Bill

    If Police and Fire work is soooo hard, what kind of idiot would want to do it? See Armstrong, Godwin and the reitement packages of these 40 year olds.

  • Speakingfromexperience

    Everybody that complains about the attitudes on the police department, try dealing with people who curse you, spit on you, threaten you, hit you, and try to sue you everyday for a year and see how your outlook on life changes. It is impossible to get a group of people together without having a bad apple. Say that group is over 2,000 people and there are going to be a few bad apples. On top of that, the media finds it almost impossible to report the good work being done so they only report the problems in fire and police.

    • Hard Truths

      The police — and not just in Memphis — behave like an enemy occupying army in our communities. They’re the ones who are paid to behave in a civilized manner. I say the root of the problem lies with police failure to be civil to the taxpaying public. They behave like a street gang.

      Why do they need armored personnel vehicles and other implements of WAR? The militarization of the police since 9/11 has ruined their reputation in the community — and has attracted a lot of the WRONG kind of people to police work. We don’t need these thugs. They belong on the OTHER side of the bars.

      It’s no longer “to protect and serve”.

      It’s “If you make us get a search warrant, we’ll shoot your dogs and destroy your house”.

      Seriously, the police are the ones primarily responsible for the bad reputation they have earned — among the MAJORITY of people.

      Do YOU still trust the police? You must be soft in the head.

      The police are the problem, and they need to change or else suffer the consequences.

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