Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Paid Protection, part two

It looks like Harold Collins' residency proposal for Memphis police officers is moving forward.

In executive committee today, the proposed resolution to allow police officers to live outside Memphis — but charge them $1,200 for the privilege of doing so — passed in a close 7-6 vote, meaning it will go before the full council at its June 17th meeting.

In what he called a compromise — for more, click here — Collins suggested charging officers who live outside the city the average property tax bill. But several veteran council members said they would not support any measure that allowed officers to live outside the city limits.

"The purpose of people living in the city goes beyond whether or not they pay property taxes," said Barbara Swearengen Ware. "I don't want you to work for the city and have the Mississippi attitude that you go home at night ... and don't have to worry about folk in Memphis except for the eight hours you're at work."

Ware, Janis Fullilove, Wanda Halbert, Edmund Ford Jr., Joe Brown, and Myron Lowery voted against the proposal.

Public safety committee chair Reid Hedgepeth has asked council members for ways to increase the number of police officers in Memphis for several months now.

"We've had 2,000 officers for three or four years. We've reduced the college requirement and we're still hovering around 2,000," he said. "Are we worried about people coming up here and protecting our citizens? ... They're willing to come up here and risk their lives and we're going to tell them we don't want them?"

Collins, Hedgepeth, Shea Flinn, Bill Boyd, Bill Morrison, Jim Strickland, and Scott McCormick voted for the proposal.

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