Memphis police say more than 400 officers have called in sick in the past week in what appears to be a deliberate action to protest planned health care cuts.

Memphis Police Department spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said Monday that 404 officers have called in sick since June 30, an increase from 308 officers who had called in sick through Sunday. The department has about 2,280 officers.

According to The Commercial Appeal (, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said Sunday that the actions come in an apparent protest to a City Council vote that will reduce health care subsidies for city employees so that the funds can be redirected to the city’s troubled pension fund.

Because of the number of officers out, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is helping patrol the city.


Memphis Police Director: ‘We’re in crisis mode’ as Sick-out Grows
July 8, 2014

Police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, are sick — sick of having their healthcare benefits cut.

Nearly a quarter of the city’s 2,200-member police force called in sick on Monday. That’s 522 officers, according to Police Director Toney Armstrong.

“We’re in a crisis mode,” he said. “We’re going to do absolutely everything we have to do to make sure that public safety isn’t compromised.”

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