Law enforcement nationwide is a less attractive career prospect because of the disrespect law enforcement officers have to contend with in modern times, said Memphis City Council member Worth Morgan.
And it doesn’t help when Memphis cannot offer competitive wages for officers, Morgan told The Tennessee Star this week.
As reported, Memphis voters might get called upon next year to decide whether people who live up to 50 miles away from Shelby County can serve as police officers or firefighters.
This will only happen if seven out of 13 Memphis City Council members decide next month to approve a referendum for the November 2020 elections.
Morgan said he favors allowing people who live up to 50 miles away to serve as police officers in Memphis.
“I think there is more stress and anxiety that comes with the job of being a police officer. Some of the national conversations where, if you talk to officers one-on-one, they might hesitate to admit it, but if they were standing in line in a restaurant, at the gas station, whatever it is, and somebody else would say ‘I would be happy to pick up that officers’ meal.’ They are met now often with scorn,” Morgan said.
“I think some of the attacks on social media and some of the language that has changed around the national conversation has made it more difficult and less attractive to serve for some people,” he added.
Morgan went on to say there is no way to fix that problem legislatively.
“I think nationally the conversation has calmed down and shifted toward other things across the United States. The implementation of body cameras across the Memphis Police Department in the last four years has been a big help,” Morgan said. “We have seen complaints against officers dramatically reduced. The only people who don’t like body cameras are bad citizens and bad cops. And it probably cuts down the bad behavior on both sides.”
Morgan was first elected to the Memphis City Council in 2015, according to Ballotpedia.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Photo “Memphis City Council” by Thomas R Machnitzki. CC BY 3.0.