MPD receives $6.1M grant in effort to recruit, retain officers

MPD receives $6.1M grant in effort to recruit, retain officers
Updated: Feb. 27, 2017 at 5:43 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department is getting a $6.1 million grant to help bolster the police force.

The grant will be over four years with the goal to retain and recruit Memphis police officers.

"More police officers will help drive down our rate of violent crime," Mayor Jim Strickland said.

In addition to the bonuses, officers with 12 or more years of experience on the force will receive a two percent raise in Mayor Jim Strickland's 2017-18 budget proposal. Other officers will receive a one percent increase.

"Our administration is taking serious long term steps to make sure that Memphis does not face this staffing shortage again," Strickland said.

The money comes from private donors from the Memphis Crime Commission.

"Violent crime is really our biggest challenge, and this is a major step at addressing that challenge," council member Bill Gibbons said.

Strickland and police director Mike Rallings will also propose a freeze of the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).

MPD will partner with Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission to utilize the grant money. They hope to raise MPD's current number of officers from 1,970 to 2,300 by 2020.

According to MPD, violent crime has risen 14 percent since 2011, when MPD had their largest number of officers at 2,452.

Many Memphians are supportive of the idea of adding officers.

"Adding police officers is a good thing," Preston McShan said. "It'll make us feel safer, so I believe it's a good thing."

"We really need it because there's a lot of crime in our city," Jessica Rice said.

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