MPD says it spent nearly $680,000 on crowd control gear since 2016

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the last four years the Memphis Police Department has spent nearly $680,000 on crowd control protective gear, equipment and less lethal crowd control devices. 

The police director unveiled those statistics and more in an expense presentation to a City Council committee Tuesday afternoon.

The Memphis Police Department showed how much money it spent from 2016 until now when responding to various protests throughout the city. It’s for what the department calls crowd control protective gear, along with ways to disperse a crowd.

The amount went from nearly $144,000 back in 2017 after the bridge protest to more than $320,000 when there was unrest in Frayser in 2019 following a fatal shooting involving the U.S. Marshals.

Most recently, in protests this year following the death of George Floyd, the amount was a little more than $164,000.

“I’m holding a brick that’s on my shelf to remind me of the dangers our officers face,” Police Director Mike Rallings told council members. “This is after the incident in Frayser where I met with council during attorney-client, and pretty much told council what I was going to do to purchase additional riot-gear control or munitions.”

As part of his presentation, Rallings talked about the more than $1 million of surplus military equipment his department has received from a Department of Defense program.

MPD received two armored vehicles at deeply discounted costs coming to around $120,000. Officials say the vehicles can be used when responding to help people in storms or active hostage situations.

The presentation also looked at overtime costs within the department. Since 2016, giving a breakdown of budget and actual costs, there was a difference so far of more than $30 million. 

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