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550 Memphis Police Officers Call in Sick

July 08, 2014  | 

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

Tuesday morning nearly 25 percent of the 2,218 officers employed by the Memphis Police Department were reportedly at home, participating in a work stoppage known as the Blue Flu, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Since June 30, the number of officers out sick has grown drastically from 71 officers out to the current 552, which accounts for 24.8 of the police force, according to Memphis police spokeswoman Sgt. Karen Rudolph.

City and police officials recognized the absences Sunday afternoon as a work action in protest of cuts to city employee health care subsidies for most retirees and a 24 percent rise in premiums for past and present employees.

Monday night Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said all officers will have to produce a doctor's note upon returning to work and the administration will deal with each of the officers individually.

Comments (18)

Displaying 1 - 18 of 18

GBush @ 7/8/2014 2:55 PM

Right On! LAPD will join you very soon.

westcoastleo @ 7/8/2014 2:58 PM

Good for them. Not just for working conditions, wages but lack of respect for the law, second guessing by the public media and the FED over seeing each department now days. LEO's fight in the streets everyday and get bashed in the press media and the net for doing the job or not doing enough. I think that all LEO's need to take a step back from alot of things and not get "Involved". Too many LEO's loose their jobs or get filed on just for doing the job. So great for the blue flu. You good and bad citizens of Memphis deserve to be without cops on the streets for a few days and maybe you will learn what it's like to have the savages beat you, steal from you, and rape you.

DEADMAN @ 7/8/2014 3:01 PM

An increase in payments is almost inevitable,a very good reason for negotiation,if they have a contract ,that should be a negotiable item and the city should negotiate in good faith.Even if there is no contract,the city should sit down and negotiate in good faith or risk alienating a lot of voters and the working relationship between the city and their employees,they shouldn't cut them off at the knees. Wish you well Blue,Stay Safe !

sherry @ 7/8/2014 5:40 PM

An increase in pay plus benefits is a must. The retirement funds need to be left alone then that accuont would grow with interest which in turn would pay out to more officers when it is thier turn to retire. This should not be a problem. WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY THAT IS BEING MADE WITH ASSET FORFEITURE? There has been big bucks made in this area. Where is it at? Hell, use the money obtained in drug busts when the case is over.

Lenny @ 7/8/2014 5:43 PM


Fair to assume that by negotiate in good faith, you mean give us everything we want. It may have eluded your notice but most people are tired of city workers everywhere and wouldn't mind a bit to see their pay, perks, pensions be put more in line regular people. What these cops in Memphis are doing isn't far from blackmail.

Dan @ 7/8/2014 6:53 PM

Lenny, instead of calling in sick, they should all just quit their jobs. The city would be in a far bigger bind and spend a shit load of money paying other jurisdictions to cover until they could get more money to replace their depleted numbers; more money than they would spend abiding honorably and covering their goddamned healthcare. But at least it wouldnt be blackmail. Don't worry about the police though, they'll be fine. They can and will find new jobs. I hear you can make a living as a professional video gamer. At least when you die you can just redrawn.


I agree completely. Regular people, as Lenny put it, need to understand that their priorities are out of whack. They spend massive amounts of money on needless shit. A dose of reality would do people good. If the "regulars" aren't willing to take care of us, then me and my family don't need to take the risk. It's too great.

kevCopAz @ 7/8/2014 7:00 PM

Im not one to support "blue flu". but I don't know how badly the city has been putting it to the Police there. I do worry that the avg Joe citizen is in danger and we all take an oath to protect those that can not protect themselves, we should remember that. There is another way, to "over enforce", when I was Rookie in Phx back in 1980, we had a work "speed up" of sorts. We did not call in sick, we did not stop answering radio calls(priority types) but we did SLOW down on low priority calls AND took reports on things they normally would not have which slowed the system down to a crawl. I could not participate since I was at will for the probationary first year, but my union brothers took the ball and "walked with it". They would follow the Operations Orders TO THE LETTER and kill the dept with its own rules. They would call a Supervisor every time the book said to and sometimes even when it didn't. Even stopped traffic citations, writing reports instead,it WORKED & saved our Union!

John @ 7/9/2014 1:49 AM

This is a disgrace. It shows exactly how much they really care about 'protecting and serving'. They are willing to cheat and leave the citizens unprotected for personal gain. Great sense of duty!

Sgt @ 7/9/2014 4:38 AM

In regards to LEO's perks and benefits being more in line with "regular people," I wonder how many of those "regular" people have to work nightshift, weekends, holidays, deal with the dregs of society, dodge bullets and fists and generally put their lives on the line everyday for the pay we get.

Sgt @ 7/9/2014 4:38 AM

In regards to LEO's perks and benefits being more in line with "regular people," I wonder how many of those "regular" people have to work nightshift, weekends, holidays, deal with the dregs of society, dodge bullets and fists and generally put their lives on the line everyday for the pay we get.

C. Kimbell @ 7/9/2014 5:44 AM

Guess they call us PO-Leece because we keep getting poorer and poorer!! You get a 3% pay increase, then health insurance increases 2% as well as grocery costs, gas costs, family expenses, etc. and you get LESS for your dollar!!! We should have the BEST medical, dental, and life insurance at the lowest prices...especially since we put our very lives on the line daily !!

Cpl. R. @ 7/9/2014 6:49 AM

Police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel put their lives on the line every time they put on their respective uniforms and enter the field. Wearing a badge nowadays is essentially nothing more than putting a shiny target on your chest. When Joe Citizen puts on a bulletproof vest and 20 pounds worth of gear and enters the streets to handle the people that Joe Citizen would normally avoid like the plague, THEN he can learn what it's like to work a thankless job for slightly more than what they are now wanting to make minimum wage. We handle the drunks, the homeless, the mentally ill, the children you can no longer control, the jerks, the drug addicts, and your grandmother....all in the SAME DAY. We are exposed not only to physical danger from weapons, but diseases like HIV and Hep C, name it, we have handled someone who has it. So tell me why we FIGHT for better wages only to lose them and then some to insurance. 24% increase in insurance is absurd.

Lt. B @ 7/9/2014 7:29 AM

We as police officers have some of the lowest pay of any working Americans. Cpl. R summed it up best. We see and deal with the things that society wants to ignore and forget about, yet they don't want to respect or imbutse us for that. We have to attend academy, college, numerous specialized training and continue our education and home out skills daily to survive or at least avoid lawsuits. We do the politicians' dirty work and are put out with the trash when we no longer have a practical use. Benefits are all we have because our pay is certainly not close to the amount the risks of the job are worth.

Marshal @ 7/9/2014 7:42 AM

@Sherry-In most areas the rules won't let you use forfeiture funds to pay salaries plus the feds and the district attorney's office gets in there and takes their cut. @Lenny-How much is your life worth? When plumbers and electricians get paid more per hour then someone risking their lives every minute of the day there is something wrong. If you feel you can be a cop and make $20 or less an hour you go for it. Everyone is so down on the police maybe the entire nation needs a blue flu week so all you anti cop people can fend for yourselves for a while and enforce the laws with the same restrictions the police have. Like the movie coming out with a free crime day once a year where you can do anything without getting arrested. Let's have no cops for a week and see what happens then. We can even give a list of the anti police out so they can be the first to get a visit from the criminals. Then we can see if they break the law defending themselves or what they do.

TERRY F ZECH VAPD (RET) @ 7/9/2014 8:53 AM

I have worked too hard and too long for anyone to mess withmy pension or health benefits. Slow down is good, rotating Blue Flu around the different precincts okay. government leaders have got to realize that without us they would not have a town or a government just some dictator with all the guns.

Dep. T @ 7/9/2014 2:37 PM

Don't screw over your Cops, and they won't call in Sick. Let the Politicians answer the calls...

concerned citizen @ 7/9/2014 4:46 PM

I think the politicians should take a pay/pension cut. None of them should be getting paid by the state considering they get money from Boosters and lobbyists to screw over the police department. You know the company who is in charge of pensions is probably the Governors #1 donner.

Leland Keane @ 7/13/2014 8:13 PM

Politicians vote themselves raises and then hack police benefits. They can not show any examples of fiscal distress and yet the cutbacks loom all over.

This is a theme in North America and Britain.

Politicians up here in Canada trying to stop my brothers and sisters from having a union. Our benefits are being slashed. We are in Supreme court right now to have them recognize our legal and human right of collective bargaining.

Memphis Police like all police deserve to be paid a decent wage and have their benefits protected!

The ideals of James Connolly and the Tolpuddle Martyrs are as relevant today as they were in their time.

In brotherhood,

Leland Keane
Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada

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