MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The city's top cop doesn't get a chance to talk with reporters much these days.
Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings has things to do; deal with a city with a high violent crime rate, or head to city council and talk about money, or go to conventions and talk about trying to hire police.
"Nationwide, that's what we talk about," the Director says. "Two weeks ago in Nashville, there were major city chiefs from 78 of the largest departments in the nation, including eight from Canada. Guess what one of the main topics was? Recruitment and retention, because we're all fighting for the same folks."
Memphis needs at least 500 more officers. It costs you folks about $1-million for each recruitment class.
If they're lucky, maybe they'll get 80 or 90 people who graduate.
One thing the department did was remove the requirement that recruits needed to have two years of college before applying for the job.
"We want to pull these people in that we're missing." Director Rallings says. He says other cities are doing the same thing with new recruits. "They're still going to have to meet the qualifications. They're still going to have to go to the academy. They still have to prove they are the Best in Blue."
As the recruiting continues, with Memphis trying to get more officers, the city doesn't go to sleep and wait.
“This is a tough year," Rallings says. "Our officers are working a lot of overtime. So again, it shows we have dedicated professionals that get it. Some people think the officers are just working to get overtime. If they weren't, we'd be in a lot of trouble."
Director Rallings feels confident that we will be able to get the officers we need in this city, but it’s going to take some time.