MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The feared Blue Flu is not spreading through the Memphis Police Department, at least not yet.
Last week, Police Director Toney Armstrong addressed rumors that officers upset over city benefit cuts would stage a sick out. WREG is investigating where this protest stands.
“I’m hoping that nothing happens. I heard that it was supposed to happen today,” said Officer Mike Williams, Memphis Police Association President.
Officer Williams says the Memphis Police Association never asked for or sanctioned a sick-out of MPD officers in protest of health benefits being cut. He suspects that came from officers in the field who felt they had no other way to show the city administration how upset they are.
“Sometimes there’s a ground swell and sometimes you can only kick a dog for so long before it bites you,” said Williams.
If officers wanted to strike back by staging a sick out, a memo from their boss may have changed minds.
Director Armstrong demanded almost everyone wear uniforms or have it within arms reach during the time of the rumored sick out. He also sent to the media the consequences officers face for repeatedly calling in sick.
Armstrong wasn’t in today when we went to ask him if officers were reporting to work as scheduled but we did find all officers wearing their blues, even those assigned to detective bureaus at 201 Poplar who normally wear shirts and ties.
Williams said, “I’m hoping it doesn’t happen. I have kids and young kids that live in the city. I don’t want anything to befall them.”
A Memphis police spokesperson told us by email there are no signs of the Blue Flu at this time.