The city of Memphis will pay police officers a $500 bonus in August to help curb an exodus that has left the city short more than 400 officers, and will offer incentives to boost recruitment, according to an internal city memo sent out Monday.

Chief Human Resources Officer Alexandria Smith said in the memo to officers that current officers will get the "retention bonus" in addition to a July 1 pay increase of between 2.75 percent and 3.75 percent, depending on years of service.

Police officers who are designated as "peer counselors" and complete training will also receive an extra $50 per month beginning July 1, the memo says.

The shortage of officers and firefighters is widely thought to be fueled in part by recent cuts and changes to health care and retirement benefits, especially the Dec. 31 end of a 70 percent subsidy of health insurance premiums for retirees younger than 65, the Commercial Appeal reports.

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