Thursday, October 30, 2008

Addressing Police

(Getting a late start on things this morning ... erm, afternoon, whatever, sorry.)

Tuesday, while Memphis voters are deciding whether division directors, legal department employees, and chief administrative staff should reside within the city limits, the City Council's public safety committee will take up a resolution to allow police officers to reside within 20 miles of the Shelby County line.

Hiring a full complement of police officers has been both a mandate from and a challenge for "the new council." (Sorry, that's what I still call the bumper crop of new council members from the last municipal election.)

In May, I wrote about Councilman Harold Collins' idea to levy a $1,200 a year fee on police officers who lived outside the city. Collins decided on that amount because of the average property tax bill.

At the time, Collins had this to say:

"How hard is it to move to Memphis? The best idea is for everybody who wants to work for the city to move into the city and then we could be happily ever after. We're a long way from Camelot. This is the next best thing."

He also said that the pay difference between Memphis and its surrounding jurisdictions would more than make up for the fee.

If you're interested in reading the rest of that story, you can find it here, but the Memphis Police Association was not in favor of Collins' plan.

"I live in Memphis. If I call the fire department, I don't care where they live," said police association president James Sewell. "I just want them to come quickly and put out the fire."

The council's public safety committee will also discuss the recommendations from the police hiring task force Tuesday.

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