A new class of Memphis Police Department (MPD) recruits reported for the training academy Monday in a move city leaders said will rebuild the MPD’s staffing levels.
MPD now has 1,965 commissioner officers, which is down from 2,452 in 2011. Hiring more police officers was a major plank in Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s campaign for that office last year.
That pledge was bolstered last month with a $6.1 million grant from the Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission to help city officials recruit more cops. The Crime Commission wants at least 2,300 MPD officers on staff.
Officials said Monday that the 108 recruits that showed up for the academy as police candidates was the largest since 2010.
“We are definitely headed in the right direction,” MPD director Michael Rallings said in a statement. “Our campaign efforts have been successful and we anticipate continuing this momentum for future classes.”
The academy also saw 41 recruits Mondays as candidates to become Police Service Technicians, MPD employees whose duties vary from conducting minor accident investigations to assisting with traffic control at major city events.