Memphis School Superintendent Kriner Cash will turn a high school into a four-year public safety academy, annually turning out 200 potential Memphis police recruits as early as 2013. “You don’t come out ready to be a police officer, but you are ready to pursue postsecondary training,” Cash told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. With a projected enrollment of 800 to 1,200 students, he said Memphis City Schools could possibly solve the city’s shortage of police officers.
“I think anything that we can do to attract quality candidates is a good thing,” said Police Director Larry Godwin. “It also shows our young men and women the different opportunities that are out there.” The Memphis Police Department has 2,157 officers, 188 below the budgeted staffing complement for this year. Last week, the city council voted against extending the residency requirement to 20 miles outside of Shelby County, setting off a division between people who say the city is being overrun by criminals and those who say black officer candidates are routinely and unfairly disqualified.