'Welcome to Memphis: 228 homicides in 2016, down over 500 police officers.'
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says the city's police union is conducting a "harmful" billboard campaign by touting the city's record-high homicide total last year and police officer shortage.
The Commercial Appeal reports (http://memne.ws/2lA5Mbt ) that the Memphis Police Association has rented more than 10 billboards saying, "Welcome to Memphis: 228 homicides in 2016, down over 500 police officers." The union plans to run similar TV ads.
The union is soon starting contract negotiations. The campaign aims to pressure Strickland to restore employee benefits.
Strickland said the union is campaign "purposely trying to depress" revenues. He said the signs are bad for Memphis and serve no purpose.
The Memphis City Council has cut benefits in recent years to comply with a state law requiring full funding of its pension system by 2020.