MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – An understaffed Memphis Police Department answers calls for help 24/7, and coming off a year with a record number of homicides in the Bluff City, the need for new officers is critical.
“We are looking to hire 300 candidates that are passionate about community service, that are interested in getting out and engaging the community, and building trust and transparency for the police department,” said Lt. Col. Sharon Cunningham.
A hiring expo will be held Saturday to recruit what the department calls the “best in blue.” It will be at the Memphis Police Department Headquarters at 170 N. Main Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There will be free parking for candidates at the Mud Island garage. You are asked to wear athletic gear for your basic agility test.
Applications will be taken on-site with representatives from the department’s specialized units, like aviation, K-9, and harbor patrol all on hand to answer questions.
The Memphis Police Department has sweetened the pot when it comes to pay, increasing salaries and tacking on a $15,000 signing bonus, and even $10,000 for relocation.
Department brass hope to change the current Shelby County residency requirement.
“I think that relaxing the residency requirement is something, that, of course, we’ve been looking at,” said Cunningham. “We’ve been reviewing, we’ve been in discussions about. Of course there are pros and cons to everything, but opening up the residence requirement to, you know, qualified candidates is a plus.”
Not only is the department looking to put more boots on the streets, it hopes many will be women.
Cunningham says she’ll mark 32 years with the department in February. She says the Memphis Police Department has come a long way when it comes to women in uniform.
“We’re all feeling the pinch of not having the officers that we desire to have on the streets, because when we don’t have officers in ranks, then sometimes it does, you know, cause that domino effect of responding to calls and being responsive to those calls the way that we desire to and the way that we would want to,” said Cunningham.