Interim Memphis Police Director Rallings talks about challenges his department is facing

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Interim Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings is asking the public to commit to taking care of the city`s first responders. In front of the City Council, he said cutting police officers benefits is a concern. “We spent many years warning every one of the risk to cutting police officer benefits, the risk of foregoing a recruit class and now we`re seeing the impact of that,” he said. Rallings was outspoken when talking about the challenges his officers face every day. “Without  a doubt, the officers have to be compensated fairly for the risk that they take,” he said. A lot of Memphis Police don’t believe they’re being well compensated for putting their lives on the line every day, WREG was told. The talks come as officers and the entire city are mourning the death of fallen Officer Verdall Smith who police said was run over Saturday night by Justine Welch. Welch also is accused of shooting three others in the Pinch District prior fatally hitting Officer Smith. “We as a community should all be outraged at the level of violence in Memphis,” Rallings said. While Mayor Jim Strickland announced a multi-pronged attack to fight crime, Rallings stressed pay and benefits must be better to recruit officers to carry out those plans. During the City Council’s Committee meeting, Director Rallings also said it’s critical to have programs that focus on replacing squad cars with more than 100,000 miles. He said 247 cars are over that. “It’s critical that we have a continuous program to replace vehicles.  We’re taking $11,000 in car video system,  automatic vehicle system. It cost us $800 for the install, so it doesn’t make sense for us to install a 11,000 system into a car that has a 125, 100,000 miles because what it means is I’m going to have to take that car out and re install.” The national standard is 75,000 miles.

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