The Memphis Police Department is under fire after it was revealed that the standard to join the ranks of police officers had been lowered in the past.
The news comes on the heels of the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols last month and as crime across the city surges. Not only were standards lowered but the department offered incentives in the form of signing bonuses up to $15,000 to encourage people to join the force.
It was also reported that the department provided $10,000 in relocation allowances. Previously, candidates had to have military service, previous experience in policing, or college credit but those qualifications were rolled back.
"They would allow just pretty much anybody to be a police officer because they just want these numbers," Alvin Davis, former lieutenant ini charge of recruiting at the Memphis Police Department, told the Associated Press.
The department had apparently grown desperate to fill hundreds of vacant positions, particularly as more officers quit.
More than 1,350 have quit over the last decade. As a result, the MPD considered hiring applicants with criminal histories. The police academy lowered its timing requirements during physical tests and removed the running portion of its training program because most recruits failed.
"If you lower standards, you can predict that you're going to have problems because we're recruiting from the human race," Ronal Serpas, the former head of police in Nashville and New Orleans, told the AP.