• MPD staffing shortage underlying factor in botched investigation?

    By: Kristin Leigh

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - When he heard about MPD’s botched investigation, Jon Stoddard, a retired Memphis Police officer, said he was shocked. 

    “There’s no excuse for not finding a body in a van,” Stoddard said. 

    Stoddard retired in 2013, after 25 years of service in Memphis. 

    He told FOX13 there are procedures in place to prevent officers from overlook victims or evidence at crime scenes. Stoddard believes overworked officers are dropping the ball.


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    “When you’re overworked you take shortcuts,” Stoddard said.  “You overlook things.”

    MPD has been crippled with a short-staffed department for years. The department is at more than 400 officers short of its full compliment. 

    MPD has paid officers millions of dollars in overtime to provided needed manpower.

    “Maybe none of that plays into this,” Stoddard continued. “But maybe it does.”

    FOX13 broke the news Tuesday that MPD officers failed to locate a victim during a shooting investigation in December. The decomposing body was discovered Monday, more than six weeks after the shooting.

    Stoddard has questions about the officers who responded to the crime on Dec. 18. 

    “How many days in a row have they been working?” Stoddard asked, directing his questions to city officials. “How much overtime have they worked in the last week?”

    MPD has not detailed what led to the mistake, but Director Mike Rallings said the van where the body was found was packed full. 

    “Although the cargo van was overly stocked with equipment, there is no explanation,” Rallings said at Tuesday’s press conference. 

    Even if the van was crowded, Stoddard told FOX13 that’s not an acceptable explanation for overlooking a shooting victim. 

    “There was a number of people in my opinion that should have had a good eye on every part of this van at some point,” Stoddard said. “I don’t know what to attribute it to honestly, other than overworked.”

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