Friday, June 20 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-06-20 20:21:41 GMT
The Memphis mayor's office says it has forwarded a message left on Mayor AC Wharton's Facebook page to the Memphis Police Department because of what it perceives as threatening language contained in theMore >>
The Memphis mayor's office says it forwarded a message left on Mayor AC Wharton's Facebook page to the Memphis Police Department because of what it perceives as threatening language contained in the post.More >>
Thursday, June 19 2014 8:05 PM EDT2014-06-20 00:05:57 GMT
The Memphis City Council approved the 2015 budget with massive cuts to employee and retiree health insurance. Employees say they can't survive day-to-day with a 24% hike in health insurance premiums.More >>
The Memphis City Council approved the 2015 budget with massive cuts to employee and retiree health insurance.
Employees say they can't survive day-to-day with a 24 percent hike in health insurance premiums. Retirees say they can't live paying 100 percent of their premiums.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC) - Morale is down in the police department, according to Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, who spoke at a news conference on Friday morning. During the news conference, he discussed a wide range of topics.
Budget, pension, health care cuts
Chief among those topics was Armstrong's reaction to the budget decisions made at Memphis City Hall Tuesday night. It directly affect the pay checks and health care coverage for city employees, including police officers.
"Certainly this is something we didn't expect," Armstrong said. "It affects all of us in a negative way, but at the end of the day, my message is that we took an oath. We took an oath that we are responsible for public safety and regardless of what happens on this end there won't be a citizen that should suffer for that."
Armstrong says those decisions most definitely affect morale as well as MPD's ability to recruit and retain officers. The trend, he says, is that officers are leaving the department in large numbers. And he expects that will continue as a result.
In fact, he says Friday is the last day at MPD for one of the two homicide lieutenants, Mark Miller, a longtime seasoned veteran of the homicide bureau, who is leaving to take another opportunity elsewhere.
"I think our officers are looking at any opportunity that they get, whether it's out of town or whether it's at another local municipality," he said. "I think they're looking at any opportunity they get if it's attractive for them and OK with their family and meets their needs."
Despite morale being down and officers leaving, Armstrong says those on the force have a duty to serve and protect the public.
"Our officers are still doing their jobs. They're still being proactive," he said.
Williams says this is the first time he's heard the director acknowledge morale issues in the department. He says members have a good reason to be disgruntled.
"What motivates me to go into an active shooter situation knowing that if I get shot I'm not going to be taken care of?" said Williams. "If I'm killed, you don't want to treat my family right."
Williams says officers realize they are public servants. Armstrong says they take that oath seriously regardless.
"So, it has had an affect on morale. We're having to really, really reach deep to manage through this crisis," said Armstrong. "At the end of the day we're going to continue to do our job. We're going to continue to be professional and we're going to allow the process to take place."
Ninety new recruits will soon start a police academy class. Even so, Armstrong says MPD lost 165 of its officers since last July. He expects that number to rise as a result of the budget decisions and other departments coming to Memphis to recruit.
Armstrong is worried about his police officers leaving Memphis after recent cuts to pending pensions and health care.
"My biggest concern right now is just having enough officers to do the things we need to do," Armstrong said. "If these guys can find better jobs elsewhere, they're going to take them."
Williams says other departments from across the country have taken notice.
One month ago, Dallas Police Department came to recruit in Memphis. Nashville and Louisville are recruiting here, too. Aurora, Colorado will be here next month, according to Armstrong.
Some police officers already left MPD for Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
"This is one of the most violent cities in the nation per capita," explained Williams. "Any department that's going to get them already get a trained, seasoned, veteran officer."
Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:08 AM EDT2014-07-22 10:08:09 GMT
(WMC) - WMC Action News 5 has uncovered disturbing new details of the allegations behind the rape charge against a Mid-South millionaire businessman. WMC Action News 5's Nick Kenney took the new informationMore >>
Twenty toothbrushes, eight flash drives, four guns, nipple clamps, sex toys, lingerie: those are just a few of the items seized from the property of a Memphis businessman charged with rape. More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:52 AM EDT2014-07-22 10:52:07 GMT
The state's vehicle inspection law is now coming under closer scrutiny, with critics saying it's not necessary and unenforceable.More >>
Every day, hundreds of Mississippians get their cars inspected to make sure they are in proper driving condition. Also every day, hundreds of others don't. The state's vehicle inspection law is now coming under closer scrutiny, with critics saying it's not necessary and unenforceable.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:36 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:36:56 GMT
It was a sad morning in Gulfport as a community helped a family say goodbye to five year old Janaya Thompson. More >>
It was a sad morning in Gulfport as a community helped a family say goodbye to five year old Janaya Thompson. Her memorial service got underway just after 11 Tuesday morning at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport. People who knew Janaya stood up and shared stories of the little girl who had touched their lives. "Naya" could light up a room and make people smile.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:04 AM EDT2014-07-22 05:04:40 GMT
Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber spoke out Monday on the sudden resignation of JPD Chief Lindsey Horton. The mayor praised former Chief Horton's work over the past year and his help with the administrative transition. ButMore >>
Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber praised former Police Chief Lindsey Horton's work over the past year and his help with the administrative transition. But refuted rumors that Horton was forced out or asked to leave.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:13:25 GMT
The man arrested for the brutal murder of 67-year-old Ruth Helen Harrion went before a judge on Tuesday and was denied bond. 29-year-old Alonzo Stewart is charged with capital murder. Authorities sayMore >>
29-year-old Alonzo Stewart is charged with capital murder. Authorities say he lived a few houses away from Harrion in the Bel-Air Subdivision in Northwest Jackson.