Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to Police

The City Council's executive committee heard recommendations from the police recruitment ad hoc committee today, including a resolution to allow officers to live 20 miles outside of Shelby County, as long as they pay a $1,400 fee and apply before December 31, 2009.

Police director Larry Godwin told council members the department currently has about 2,100 applicants, due in part to a large marketing campaign, but the department also loses about 100 officers each year to attrition.

"After the marketing campaign is over, the applicants will diminish," said councilman Harold Collins. "We're trying to provide enough applicants going forward over the next three years."

Some council members objected to the resolution because a similar provision went before the full council two months ago.

"To bring it back before us, simply because an ad hoc committee decided to, is very disappointing," said councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware. "In our rules of procedure, once a matter has been approved or rejected at one meeting, any such item may not be placed on the agenda ... for consideration before six months after the original consideration of the matter."

There was also a tense moment when Ware asked about the effect of the resolution on neighboring communities.

Godwin said, "I will not allow us to go to a department and recruit another chief's men and women. We would probably be offering things they don't have, salary, benefits."

After Ware said "we will rape those town of their police officers," Chairman Myron Lowery protested her use of that term, but she re-asserted her meaning.

"I meant rape," she said emphatically. "We wll take those officers that are protecting those citizens and bring them to Memphis and put them on our police force. It's wrong."

The resolution was added onto the full council's agenda for this evening.

Other recommendations from the committee included opening the city's down-payment home assistance program to police officers, paying college loans and relocation fees for officers, and processing police applications in a more timely manner. The other recommendations will come before the City Council's personnel committee.


Save This MG said...

Ware, Brown and Halbert are fools. I work in Human Resources and I can tell you definitively that the residency rule has hurt our recruiting efforts. Qualified candidates just aren't out there anymore. Our city schools aren't turning out people that can pass our required tests. It's disturbing for us. We can fully staff our technical and skilled labor positions because of it.

marycash said...

"Our city schools aren't turning out people that can pass our required tests. It's disturbing for us."

I have heard this before, from a police academy guy, in fact. It's the kind of thing we need to be having frank discussions about.

Save This MG said...

I'd agree with the police recruiter. The school system (and is isn't just MCS) isn't turning out qualified applicants. Many can barely pass our basic aptitude tests. Some can barely read. It's bad. Expanding where we allow people to live isn't going to fix the problem. We have to go more basic than that and start demanding more from our students.

Grow said...

I was told this from a former insider that has since left the police force:

This person informed me the tests were intended for college graduates and were never "dumbed-down" for high school graduates. So, perhaps the blame has been unfairly placed on MCS.

Perhaps two separate conversations should be:
1. Why isn't UofM churning out police recruits? What incentives should be in place to make sure this is happening? Tuition waivers, free room and board etc....
2. Why does it take 6 months to process a new police recruits paper work? Who waits that long for an interview?

This is not a poor reflection of our MCS but on our leader's lack of vision.

marycash said...

"2. Why does it take 6 months to process a new police recruits paper work? Who waits that long for an interview?"

That is an excellent point. Since the recession and the downward spiral of the media business as a whole, I've had MPD as a back-up plan — at least it's one entity that's hiring — but six months is a long time to wait with your career is on hold. What do you do in the interim?