Police shortage leading to excessive overtime, taking a toll on officers


Memphis police officers are being forced to work overtime, according to the Memphis Police Association.

MPA President Mike Williams told FOX13 officers are working up to 16 hours per day, and that affects safety on our streets. He said it is the result of not having enough officers on the force.

“People are going to start freaking out when they see some of these officers have made $70, 80, 100,000 dollars,” Williams said. “But you got to understand some of them are working 16 hours a day.”

Williams’ sentiment of officers being overworked is also being expressed by those protecting and serving on the streets of Memphis.

A MPD officer, who does not want to be identified, told FOX13 the following.

“When I was hired, officers were actively looking for overtime because it was of limited availability. However, in the last couple years, many have been worn down due to the need for people to work over.”

“If in fact they’re making them work mandatory overtime, to say that it’s mission-critical or mission-essential and the officer can’t deny not working, he’s not going to be happy working that shift,” Williams said. “He’s not going to give his 100 on that shift.”

Williams told FOX13 a fully-staffed force has 2,500 officers. He said the city is short about 400, and that shortage is forcing the officers to work overtime they can’t refuse.

“If it’s deemed mission-essential, they can be denied days off,” Williams said. “They can be denied the ability to go home.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was not available for an interview Monday, but Williams said he has warned city leaders of the problem for years.

“We’ve been telling the administration this for the last five years,” Williams told FOX13. “We already told them where we were headed. We told them what we needed, but they didn’t want to take heed and they had other plans.”