(WMC-TV) - For the first time, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is addressing concerns about the impact of looming budget cuts.
Memphis city leaders are asking the police department to cut 2.5 percent of its budget, which would amount to $5.9 million.
The worst case scenario? Precincts could close down.
"That would be the absolute worst case scenario. Something I don't want to do," he said.
Director Armstrong says he is already at minimal staffing levels. And with officers leaving for other jobs, he says $5.9 million in cuts will take a bite out of fighting crime.
One other option he is considering is delaying promotions.
"That might be one of the ways we do that or attrition," he explained. "If we do that, it appears our compliment, as it is right now, will be decreased."
Armstrong says crime is down 5 percent this year.
"As our staffing levels decline and without the abilities to continue to hire, it makes it even more challenging to do that," he said.
The director will also considering eliminating police academy classes.
"Maybe deleting a shift, maybe adding hours going to maybe 10-hour shifts," he added.
Armstrong says fewer officers means it is harder to staff investigative bureaus and specialized units.
"It's going to be extremely difficult to staff all of those and adequately staff nine precincts," he said, including that instability could hurt recruiting. "We've had a lot of our people who are leaving for other employment elsewhere."
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