Memphis police lagging behind target recruitment goals for 2019

WATCH: Memphis police lagging behind target recruitment goals for 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department is lagging behind its target recruitment goals for this year.

As FOX13 has reported, the department wants to have 2,300 on staff by the end of 2020.

MPD has hired 184 officers so far this year with a new recruitment class starting in September and another one graduating in November.

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The department said one of its target recruitment goals was to increase staffing to 2,111 by March 31, 2019, but currently MPD has 2,082 on staff.

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“It’s the economy right now police work is a tough business to recruit in so we’re in constant contact with chiefs across the country, and we’re seeing it consistently that every major city is having trouble finding qualified recruits who what to do police works,” said Deputy Chief Don Crowe, of the Memphis Police Department.

Crowe said the city is using a marketing firm to help with recruitment. Additionally, the department is also working to eliminate the residency requirement.

But recent controversy hasn’t helped. Just last month, police officers and community members clashed after a U.S. Marshal shot and killed Brandon Webber in Frayser.

FOX13 asked if that recent unrest had an impact on recruitment efforts.

“I have no specific information that that has had an impact, but you always have to think it does,” said Crowe.

He said the goal is to hire 300 officers total by the end of this year.

“We don’t have a specific goal for December 31st of this year, but it seems likely we will surpass 2,111 for the first time by the end of this year,” said Crowe.

Another factor impacting staffing level is retirement and resignations. MPD said 50 people have already left the department this year, and they expect that number to double by the end of the year.