City looks to slash $6M from MPD - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

City looks to slash $6M from MPD

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The budget ax is falling in Memphis and the cuts are hitting public safety hard.

On the heels of Memphis Fire Station No. 6 closing and pulling a ladder truck out of service Aug. 1, FOX13 News has learned new details about potential cuts within the Memphis Police Department.
 
Police Director Toney Armstrong has to cut about $6 million from the department's budget and the cuts could include closing police precincts around the Bluff City.

Memphis Police Association Union President Mike Williams has warned cuts to the police force will have a direct effect on the city's crime rate.
 
The budget approved by the city council in June includes a 2.5-percent cut to police operations. Director Armstrong has been working with his staff to come up with ways to save money but those savings don't include layoffs or police staff cuts.

Williams said wit everything else on the table, the projected could include closing one or more of the city's nine police stations. He said that's bad for public safety.
 
"That's going to affect the area that you possibly live in," Williams said. "It also means that they're in the process of trying to decrease the police department. When you have crime on the increase, you have shootings on the increase, you have robberies on the increase. So that means it's going to be a slower reaction time to some of the calls."

Proactive police work, going after the crime and violence before it happens, will be hit hardest by any cuts, Williams added.

Police Director Armstrong was unavailable for comment as he is out of town. In previous interviews the director said he won't make cuts at the expense of public safety. Armstrong said his police staff will continue to deliver the same level of service to Memphis residents and businesses.

There is no official word yet on MPD precinct closings, but with $6 million to trim from the budget there aren't many options.

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