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Nearly 500 cops call in sick to protest healthcare cuts in Memphis

Published time: July 07, 2014 19:47
AFP Photo / Rusty Russell

AFP Photo / Rusty Russell

​The Memphis, Tennessee Police Department is hemorrhaging officers as hundreds of cops continue to call in sick as part of a growing act of protest.

On Monday this week, MPD spokesperson Sgt. Karen Rudolph confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel that 472 officers were off of work that afternoon after claiming to be sick. One day earlier, Mayor A C Wharton said at a news conference that 308 officer had called out of work since the previous Monday, causing a noticeable strain on the department’s ability to patrol the streets. Now if the trend continues in this manner, the number of active cops on the MPD may be obliterated even further.

Over the weekend, Police Director Toney Armstrong acknowledged that the growing number of officers calling out of work was the result of an effort waged after the City Council voted recently to reduce health care subsidies for city employees. According to the Memphis Flyer, city officials approved those changes when they agreed to pass a new budget last month. Now ahead of a July 15 vote where changes to the city employee pension plan are expected to be approved, officers are striking en masse by using up their sick days to express their outrage.

Officer Mike Williams, the president of the local police union, told a Memphis CBS News affiliate recently that a potential strike seemed to be among the only options the cops had left to speak up.

“Sometimes there’s a ground swell and sometimes you can only kick a dog for so long before it bites you,” Williams said.

Speaking to Memphis Commercial Appeal, however, Williams explained that his union isn’t necessary endorsing the strike.

"This is not something that the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) orchestrated or condoned," he said. "I don't necessarily agree with this because we were getting support from the citizens and smaller businesses in the community."

Meanwhile, the toll of the ever increasing list of officers on sick-leave is all too apparent in Memphis, where law enforcement officials from neighboring towns have been forced to assist in recent days. According to Commercial Appeal, around 50 Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies assisted with law enforcement procedures on Saturday, when 181 members of the MPD called in sick.

"I would like to publicly thank the sheriff and Shelby County Sheriff's Office, as they always have, for being right there, our law enforcement brothers for being right there. They always have for us," added Armstrong.

As of earlier this year in May, the total number of officers working for the MPD was just below 2,280. At the time, Armstrong said he needed at least 2,400 officers “to continue full services” for the city.

Comments (23)

 

Noble Hospital 15.07.2014 04:33

Police sick strike needs to be address that issue>>!!

 

Nicko Thime 10.07.2014 18:31

Cops really are not very smart. Not many went beyond the 12th grade. Use up your sick time and when you really get sick you won't have any time. Gawd liberals are stupid."
Th e fact is that not all conservatives are stupid, but most stupid folks are conservative.

Liberals didn't cut their health care, conservatives did.
Now, any bets on how most of those cops voted?

 

Rusty McMackin 10.07.2014 03:47

Nicko Thime 09.07.2014 16:57

I bet that they voted for the very same right-wingers who screwed them, because Obama, liberalism, Benghazi or IRS.

  


Gawd you are stewpid. What does any of what you said have to do with the story other then your drunken rant.

View all comments (23)
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