Mayor tries to stop ‘Blue Flu’ while other agencies go on standby as more officers expected to call out

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Blue Flu is impacting Memphis. While Mayor A C Wharton took steps Tuesday to keep the Blue Flu from spreading, sources told WREG by the end of the week, it's expected everyone in the homicide bureau will be out sick.

Tuesday, MPD reported 554 people who work for the department were out sick, although sources tell us it's more than 650 people, including more than three-fourths of the homicide bureau.

Mayor Wharton said the officers are playing hooky to protest the budget the city council passed on June 17 that increases employee and retiree health care costs.

Mayor Wharton will require everyone in MPD to follow city employee sick policy. He said the department directors will be responsible for their officers, and Chief Administrative Officer George Little will hold them accountable.

"It will be dealt with. Director Armstrong has already said he is going to take corrective action, and there will be more steps taken," said Mayor Wharton.

Mayor Wharton said officers will have to provide a doctor's note, which Director Toney Armstrong is already requiring, and officers will have to start calling their supervisor two hours before their shift to let them know they are sick.

The officer will have to let their supervisor know where they will be recovering, like their home or hospital, and stay there until they feel better.

Armstrong said officers could be suspended or even fired if they abuse policy, but Wharton mentioned the officers not get paid for the days the played hooky.

Some are wondering if it's enough to put an end to the Blue Flu.

"If it's higher in the police department like their patrol bosses, probably not. They are going to let things slide just like everyone else does a little bit," said Memphis resident Tiffany Fredrickson.

MPD said the Blue Flu hasn't affected safety, because they've ordered TACT and Organized Crime officers to patrol the streets.

Over the weekend, Shelby County Sheriff's Office offered help. Tuesday, 30 deputies pitched in.

"Depending on the need, Director Armstrong will definitely reach out, and we will touch those individuals who need it," said Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham.

Other agencies are on standby. State Troopers and Tipton County Sheriff's Office told WREG they are just waiting for a call from MPD.


  • Enough

    You all called out..wish my husband could have while he was over seas…Your still getting paid and you should be fired. You put the community at risk for the bs the city council is doing… Well….next time my husband is called for active duty ,,,,I am sure he can’t call in because he will considered AWOL… You all are not helping, its the mayor and city council who screwed you for their pet projects…Not us civilians….

    • James

      Well you voted them in so live with it. In the end this is a job plain and simple. If you don’t want to pay, then services are withheld. I know, your response is quit. Newsflash sweetheart: THEY ARE. And this is going to be the type of service citizens will get due to mismanagement.

      • Thisisstupid

        Excuse me but I didn’t vote these losers in….Do not reply saying I voted them in lol. I don’t have to live with it. And as “my point exactly” Again I didn’t vote for these people. You live with it since you are so intelligent with that comment. Next you will probably make another stupid comment….Did you even vote?

      • Thisisstupid

        And please do not call me SWEETHEART..this is when we call in the which we are…do not call me SWEETHEART ..HUN…

    • Wurz

      Quiet, the adults are talking. When you get screwed out of everything you’ve earned in the agreement between yourself and the city, maybe you’ll think about it differently.

      Just wait until your husband sees his “benefits” through the VA. Should be pretty fun, right?

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    WHARTON, ARMSTRONG !!!PROVE!!! those guys are playing “hooky”!!! why dont u 2 focking resign!!! neither of u is an asset, ur a liability with ur inept way of solving problems!!! u 2 are a total joke for mayor and police director!!!.karma can be very vicious!!

    • Its Time

      Wharton is opening pandoras box trying to not pay these officers for sick time they have accumulated. How can you prove it? You can’t! And for the first person that made a comment. They are not your husband and he’s not one of them. This is being done as a unit. They screwed them last year by taking a 4.6 pay cut, you can’t continue to treat your public servants like this and they continue to bow down. Enough is enough! God Bless!

    • Paul Fischer

      Turn in your badge and POST certification, and resign if you’re going to punish the taxpayers for the conduct of the mayor and city council.. So dismiss yourself and check your privilege!

      • John

        We the tax payers aren’t being punished. We are receiving the level of service we are paying for. If we want more we have to pay more.

      • MPD Officer


  • CityCirclingTheDrain

    With all of the bureaus working in patrol now I guess that there will no longer be any under cover operations.

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Wharton, if U and Armstrong can honestly get a good nights sleep considering what uv done to your employees, then u dont have a conscience!!! I seriously doubt u do! In all realIty, u dont GAF about anyone but yourselves!!!

  • browning

    gotta wonder with so many sick folks on the city payroll, who is responsible for filling the positions with so many handicaps who obviously can not handle the job load ? i would think you need to address those responsible for hiring misfits to begin with & if those who pulled this prank do not have a doctors order confirming their ailment, terminate em all. theres a hell of a lot of things i dont like, especially being taken for a fool by the city & those receiving a paychek via my taxes who think they are under the impression their life styles should not be adjusted like every other person walking on two feet. sorry folks, dont buy it one minute, it comes with the career they chose. on the other hand, those responsible for scrambling this egg (herenton & company) should be held personally responsible for mismanagement just as he did with the city school system. odd the city has high salaried positions who forecast finances & now this,,,,,residents & city staff were taken for a ride & as the mayor advised…..those who did not like it could leave ….dunce got his wish & now has the food stamp crowd as his tax base…..not very brite or wise …in fact you could say its the same as whats @ 1600 pennsylvania ave……(lead from behind)…..leaders do not create followers (lead from behind), they create leaders which obviously, few if any exist in city of memphis

    • Its Time

      Hey browning “they shooting and fighting over there” and browning says “sh#t I’m gone y’all can have this job!”. You are to weak to face reality on a daily basis. Weak a$$!

  • James

    The bad part is the mayors new “Sick Policy” is not enforcable because the police department is governed by the MOU. He can not change the rules when he sees fit. That is how he got into the current predictament. Just another tactic by the mayor to bully officers. Plus officers are using time they EARNED. Good Luck you dimwit!

  • bill

    Like it or not, being a cop is a government job and the government of Memphis has been messed up and mismanaged for decades… these cops are shocked at this turn of events is beyond me. As we speak, more and more taxpayers are running for the door…so, in the future there will be even less people to tax. As far as insurance going up, mine has went up every year for the last 10 years…..welcome to reality. If you take a job working for a broke town, soon or later this is where that decision leads…..unless of course, you can convince thousands of people to move back to Memphis…..good luck with that

  • Ric

    Some media idiots are saying “Wharton can call the Guard to duty.” Dead wrong! Wharton will call Haslam and basically be screaming Mayday!
    If this “crisis” requires the callout of the Tennessee National Guard, Armstrong and Wharton will most definitely be out of the command loop. The ability of Memphis to secure itself will have already failed at this point….
    The Guard will always be under State Command (Haslam). Expect the possibility of a curfew too! Not a pretty option, so be careful what you wish for……

  • CodeNapoleon

    Send in the National Guard! Martial law! Curfews! M16s! Armored Personnel Cariers! Love it!

  • IwishUwould

    This is not just about insurance going up people, Where is the money that these city employee’s put into the pension fund and do they get their money back. The City employee’s have had money taking out of their checks to go toward the pension fund, the city did not put in the little over 6% they where suppose to and now the money is not there. My question is where is the money’s that the City employee’s paid into the fund. AC, the CFO and CAO needs to be investigated, someone has been stealing. This is why the money is not there….

    • Wake Up

      Correct started with Herrington and these cops thought he hung the moon. They’re screwed now as we all have been by that administration and they are blaming Wharton. Meanwhile the rich developers continue to get handouts left and right. Another minority ruled city down the drain.

  • police-dump

    I supported the MPD and MFD before they all decided to throw a tantrum…. Now you guys can all go shove it… Your insurance went up? So what, mine went up 43% last year. My retirement lost half of its value, yet I still go into work… FYI guys and gals, your are replaceable… we all are…

    – I do feel bad about the retirees and those injured, and how they were screwed over… however that could have probably been negotiated out if you guys didnt decide to pull the nuclear option…

  • Don

    I hope that Wharton keeps doing what he is doing, I just want to be there when the hole he is digging will cause Memphis to fall in and take him with it. Keep digging Dummy.

  • guardian

    Sounds like the sheriff office just needs to step in and disband the police department since any sheriff dept can disband a agency in it’s county.

  • lawman

    We tell our love ones that it is a possibility that we may not make it home. I face what you fear on a daily basis,no questioned asked. I only ask that my family is taken care of if and when the lord calls me home. I truly believe that change will come because of my faith and my right to vote. I too understand your frustration. But work without faith is dead.

  • Q

    AC Warton is the White Folks that Really run this city Lap Dog! Him and Director Armstrong! The Whole City Council Needs to be Replaced!

  • bambam84

    Seems to me, since it’s been almost two weeks and we still don’t have anything accomplished except for putting the city further in debt and defrauding the medical practitioners of this town by God knows how much, what needs to happen here is, MPD and MFD need to organize a REAL protest on the river. In NUMBERS.
    You want to get pissed off about something? Good. GET PISSED OFF. Don’t just “play hooky,” on our dime and post derogatory comments on line to civilians who have done nothing more than state facts/ opinions/ thoughts.
    Go downtown in droves and make your voices heard. Now….who is to work crowd control for such an event?

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