Recruiting struggles continue for Memphis Police Department

by: Greg Coy Updated:

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The Memphis Police Department is having a tough time finding candidates to join the department.

Interim Police Director Mike Rallings told FOX13 it’s a problem that has to change.

The most recent MPD recruiting class had only 33 cadets. Rallings ran the police academy for years, and he told FOX13 he wanted better numbers.

"I have seen classes from 100 to 20. So given the climate, (it’s) not wanted I wanted, but (I) wasn't shocked."

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams told FOX13 the low cadet class is a direct results of cuts to pay and benefits.

"They have to restore the benefits or they are not going to get the people that they want,” Williams said. “And they can keep playing as long as they want too.”

A recent TBI report showed Memphis police had the most cases of officers being assaulted while on the job in 2015. We asked Rallings about the report.

"You don't have a right to put your hands on a law enforcement officer,” Rallings said. “You don't have a right to assault an officer (or) point a gun at officer, so I am appalled at that level."

This fall, the MPD will begin an advertising campaign to increase the number of recruits. The campaign is called “Best in Blue.”