Some Memphis, Tennessee, City Council members are set to propose $15 million in new funding for police officer salaries as part of an almost $30 million budget resolution, Councilman Chase Carlisle revealed Tuesday, according to WREG.
The Memphis Police Department (MPD) currently has around 1,900 officers despite looking to employ 2,500, the outlet reported, while overall crime in the city rose by around 13% from 2021 to 2022, based on Memphis Shelby Crime Commission data. Carlisle, who chairs the City Council’s Budget Committee, said the MPD’s top-out pay is below most other police departments in the area, arguing that $15 million in new funding would more than bridge that gap, and MPD Chief C.J. Davis suggested increased pay could help recruiting.
“If you want to be competitive, at the end of the day, it all comes down to money, full stop,” Carlisle said, according to WREG. “You have to be able to have the best possible compensation package if you want the best possible police officers.”
Memphis’ major violent crime declined by close to 5% in 2022 compared to 2021, Crime Commission data shows, with Fox 13 reporting 302 homicides citywide, while major property crime spiked by more than 29%. Gun-related violent incidents rose by about 3.7% after more than doubling since 2011.
In early January 2023, Tyre Nicholas was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers after a traffic stop, spurring large-scale protests there and in other cities.
The five fired Memphis police officers charged with murder and other crimes in connection with Nichols’ beating have pleaded not guilty, with several additional fired or suspended police employees facing lesser charges in the case, according to NBC News. The murder-charged former officers were part of the MPD’s high-crime area-focused SCORPION Unit, which was abolished following Nichols’ death, WREG reported.
“Even though we have challenges right now, we have challenges around the country we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Davis said, according to the outlet. “We have some great officers. We have a great police department.”
The MPD did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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