MPD recruiting numbers starting to see ‘net gain’ for the first time in years

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After a weekend of what seemed like lawlessness on many Memphis streets, we wanted to know the status of recruiting in the Memphis Police Department.

Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis told Action News 5 the department is seeing more new officers coming in for the first time in a while, but hundreds more are still needed.

“This weekend was a tough weekend,” said Chief Davis. “Our officers were all over the place. We’ve made some significant arrests but we’ve got to keep bad people in jail and we have to make sure everybody is doing their part.”

At a visit to Memphis Rotary Tuesday, Police Chief CJ Davis said officers arrested more than 21,300 people between January 1 and the end of October this year.

More than 4,600 of those arrests (about 22%) are accused repeat offenders.

“The Memphis Police Department is finally at a point where we’re starting to see a net gain,” said Chief Davis.

She says the department is close to finally hiring more than 2,000 officers, closer to the goal of 2,500 officers on Memphis streets.

“The effort is intense,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Mayor Strickland said the city is spending millions of dollars more on overtime for officers of an understaffed police department currently sitting at about 1,950 officers.

“When we did have 2,400 police officers, our overtime budget was about 12 or 13 million,” said Mayor Strickland. “It’s gone up almost 20 million dollars to supplement the manpower of those officers out in the field.”

Bringing in additional law enforcement agencies is a big help, but Chief Davis says everyone, parents, bystanders, and communities need to step up.

“Arresting our way out of this is not possible,” said Chief Davis. “We have to deal with the root causes of crime. It’s a problem the Memphis Police Department cannot wrap our arms around alone. Everybody has to do their part.”

City leaders are hoping the next two classes of MPD recruits will boost the department ranks by more than 100 cadets.

Meanwhile, Chief Davis confirmed some of Action News 5′s previous reporting that stolen vehicles are driving up the city’s crime rate.

She says 35 to 40 vehicles are stolen a day, putting us over 13,000 vehicles stolen so far this year.

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