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Memphis Police Sick: 554 Officers Call In in Healthcare Protest

Image: Memphis Police Sick: 554 Officers Call In in Healthcare Protest
In this 2008 file photo, Memphis Police Department patrolman gets into his sqaud car.

By    |   Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 06:19 PM

Hundreds of police officers in Memphis have called in sick since June 30, apparently in protest a decision by city officials to reduce their healthcare subsidies.

Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said the number of officers calling in sick had increased to 554 by Tuesday — about a quarter of the 2,200-person force.

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According to The Associated Press, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong has said the calls are to protest the City Council's vote to reduce health care subsidies for police, firefighters, and other city employees in order to redirect money to the city's troubled pension fund. Officers and firefighters, along with their families, have staged protests at City Hall since the vote on June 17.

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that the Tennessee Highway Patrol has offered to have troopers fill in for the officers.

Haslam told The Associated Press that Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons has been in contact with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. about the situation. It was not immediately known if the troopers will actually be called in to help.

"We have plans to dedicate a certain number of officers there from the Highway Patrol," Haslam said. "Obviously we can't do that forever, but we do want to step in and help."

Deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office already are helping Memphis police conduct patrols.

Armstrong has said that officers who abuse the department's sick-leave policy will be disciplined. City employees have been notified that anyone calling in will have to speak to their supervisor every day they are out and state what duties their illness prevents them from performing, Wharton said Tuesday. After three days of illness, they must have a doctor's note saying why they can't perform their duties, Wharton said.

The mayor reassured the public that safety has not been compromised due to what is being called the "Blue Flu."

"We intend to do whatever is necessary to keep it that way," Wharton said.

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Hundreds of police officers in Memphis have called in sick since June 30, apparently in protest a decision by city officials to reduce their healthcare subsidies.
memphis, police, sick, protest
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2014-19-09
Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 06:19 PM
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