MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says the Memphis Police Department is not fully staffed. He told MPD Director Toney Armstrong to come up with a plan to help areas that need extra police, like the Sea Isle Park community and the Cooper Young area.
Mayor Wharton says the department is short, about forty officers to be exact, but he won't use the budget as an excuse. If the plan that Director Armstrong comes up with doesn't help, and if other ideas don't help, he'll ask for more money for more cops.
Thugs are cowards. They do most of their dirty work at night, brave only when they have a gun in their hands. It's a constant battle with police and the thugs, and there never seem to be enough police for the troubles that pop up in some Memphis neighborhoods.
Wharton says the police department officer shortage is thanks to a budget that is also a victim of tough times.
Wharton stated, "I am not going to compromise on safety for budget reasons. If we can't do it with what we have, by George, we'll go back and ask for more."
Wharton met late last week with Cooper Young business owners and residents concerned about recent batch of shootings and robberies. He promised to help, and the department put an 'eye in the sky' camera on the corner of Cooper Street and Young Avenue. It was just what the neighborhood needed for some folks who don't like coming to the area once the sun drops.
One person lunching in the area told abc24.com, "I don't come over here a lot at night. Daytime usually, but because of past history and friend's problems, I do kind of avoid the area at night."
Now the MPD SkyCop camera is gone. It was set up Friday, there Saturday and Sunday; on Monday it was gone. A spokesperson for the police says the cameras are moved a lot, but this caught the mayor by surprise.
"That doesn't mean it won't be back," Wharton said. "That does not mean we don't have other means of surveillance under way."
The mayor wants the police director to make sure his people are being used the most effective way possible. He wants to see a report by next week.
The worst case scenario: he'll go to Memphis City Council members and ask for more of your money for more police.