VOL. 129 | NO. 132 | Wednesday, July 9, 2014
City Official: No Blue Flu Threshold for National Guard
By Andy Meek
The state of Tennessee has offered to direct Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers to Memphis to help fill manpower gaps as a result of the hundreds of Memphis Police officers who’ve called in sick over the last week.
That sick-out, which comes in the wake of cuts to health care benefits for current city employees and retirees, also has led the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to contribute manpower to maintain public safety levels in the city as the number of Memphis cops calling in sick has grown.
Meanwhile, the number of officers involved has led to rumors, particularly online, that if the mass sick-out reaches a certain threshold the National Guard will automatically get involved - or be in some way required to do so.
However, one city official with a background in complex contingencies facing the city told The Daily News he’s not aware of any such automatic threshold that would bring the National Guard into the picture.
It’s up to the municipality to make the determination if that call is needed and to then make the actual request, he said.
Moreover, he says before things even got to that point Memphis would need to have exhausted Shelby County’s ability to patch the manpower holes.
In short, as drastic as the current action is, he said things “would have to get a lot worse” before the National Guard becomes an issue.