You Can’t Recruit Your Way Out of a Retention Crisis

Vote FOR the Referendum FOR more Police and Firefighters on the Streets

Let’s keep these employees here and committed to serving the City of Memphis! Voting FOR the referendum shows a commitment from the citizens to ensure dedicated public safety employees and retirees have what they need to commit to a career here and not just a “job.”


In 2011 the city of Memphis had 2,400 commissioned police officers. During that time, the violent crime rate was at its lowest since the beginning of tracking. In the five years following 2011, the city made the disastrous decision to slash police pensions and healthcare. In the wake of the cuts, the police department lost nearly 500 officers and, not surprisingly, crime skyrocketed. On January 1, 2016, the Memphis Police Department had 2041 full time commissioned Police Officers. As of August 30, 2019, MPD has 2091 full time commissioned Police Officers. This is a net gain of only 50 Officers and still woefully short of the recommended goal of 2480. It costs the City nearly $60,000 to properly train each new Officer. The city has spent nearly $30 million dollars just to see a net gain of 50. The only way to truly recruit and retain is to restore what was taken away.


Since January 1, 2016, the Memphis Fire Department has hired 458 firefighters and dispatchers. During the same time period, 256 firefighters and dispatchers have resigned leaving a net positive of 202, or 44%. Since January 1, 2016, we have an overall retention rate of less than 50%. That’s a lot of tax dollars spent walking out of the door!

It takes anywhere between $150,000 and $300,000 to train a new employee to proper levels. Just using a base of $150,000 per new employee, the 256 employees who have resigned have cost the city $38 Million!

You can fill a cup with a water hose, but it’s a waste of time if there’s a hole in the bottom of the cup!

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