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More officers needed in order to 'provide the level of service Memphis is used to'

Police Director Toney Armstrong presented his 2015 budget to the Memphis City Council Tuesday morning. Police Director Toney Armstrong presented his 2015 budget to the Memphis City Council Tuesday morning.

(WMC) - Police Director Toney Armstrong presented his 2015 budget to the Memphis City Council on Tuesday morning.

He left his presentation hoping he doesn't have to cut officers from the force. His message to council members is clear.

"If we're going to continue to provide the level of service the people of the City of Memphis are used to, I'm gonna need 2,400 officers to do that," says Director Armstrong.

Director Armstrong says since April 30, his department has had four officers resign.

That leaves only 2,246 officers on the streets of Memphis.

MPD top brass says they're getting several resignations a week.

Armstrong says if the 2015 Memphis city budget doesn't provide the money needed to hire more officers and give them an incentive to stay, things will get much worse.

"The council has some tough decisions to make. It sounds simplistic. But, at the end of the day, there still has to be dollars allocated for it," he added.

Right now, the department answers some 900,000 calls per year. But, Director Armstrong says with fewer officers, crime will go up while the number of calls they answer goes down.

He says his department may have to stop answering burglar alarms, animal control calls, and calls to non-injury accidents because there are fewer officers on the streets.

"I would much rather us not gamble at crime going up and putting the citizens at risk," continued Director Armstrong.

Council members did approve $4.9 million dollars to fund the upcoming MPD recruit class.

But Councilman Harold Collins voted against that issue because the funding comes from the pension and public safety reserve fund.

That fund is also for employee and retiree health coverage. You can view Director Armstrong's entire budget proposal by clicking here.

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