MEMPHIS - Nearly 200 police officers have called in sick over the last few days, and Mayor A C Wharton said the action is likely tied to recent budget cuts made by the City Council.
Police Director Toney Armstrong said in a statement emailed to the media on Saturday that 181 officers have called in sick since June 30.
According to The Commercial Appeal, the calls come after the City Council approved the mayor's proposal to cut retiree health insurance subsidies in June. The proposal also increased premiums for employees and retirees.
Wharton acknowledged Saturday that the officers' actions were most likely a result of the council's budget decisions.
"It would be fanciful to say these are not related," he said. "Common sense rejects that conclusion."
Police spokeswoman Alyssa Macon-Moore said the officers who called in sick are spread across all precincts.
Wharton said he's working with the police director to ensure public safety. Officers are being redeployed and assistance has been requested from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
"I have been in constant contact with Armstrong in the last 24 hours," Wharton said. "We are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis in order to make sure we do not compromise the safety of the community."