Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share


In recent weeks and months, many of you have shared with me your concerns about the state of our 911 system. Simply put, too many people were having to wait too long to access this vital emergency service.

And simply put, that’s unacceptable.

That’s why I’ve taken action on 911 in the first few weeks of my term as your mayor. Let me outline some of that for you today.

I’ve authorized the hiring of 30 new part-time call-takers and the training of three current full-time staff members to assist on the technical side. This won’t happen overnight, as space and staffing at our training academy mean that it’ll be late spring or early summer before those call-takers start work. But it is a major step toward making sure our 911 system works when it matters most.

This wasn’t -- and still isn’t -- a matter of employee performance. The men and women at our call center are hard-working and dedicated -- there just isn’t enough of them. Our team identified gaps both in the capacity of the tech team to address system interruptions and in the number of call takers to field calls at peak times.

Our 911 center currently does not meet the national standard for answer time, which is answering 95 percent of calls within 20 seconds. Our team -- in particular chief operating officer Doug McGowen and special assistant for policy, strategy and accountability Haley Simmons -- is working to get us there. City Council member Worth Morgan and our transition team deserve credit for their hard work on this issue, too.

We’ll share a more detailed plan in the coming weeks, but our action in the meantime will help. And if you’re interested in one of the part-time jobs, we should have details soon about where to apply.

It came from Memphis: We were excited to learn recently of CMT’s planned filming of “Million Dollar Quartet” in Memphis this year. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase our rich musical heritage and provide jobs and activity in the local film/television production community.

We’re making progress: When we pressed pause on the rollout of police body cameras, I told you that it was because I wanted to get it right. I also pledged to share our progress on the issue, and I did that in a presentation to the City Council Tuesday.

Here are some of the details on that, so you can clearly see where we stand.

In sum, we have identified some staffing needs and our city attorney’s office is working on policies that concern redacting and retention. The next step in the rollout is to go from our current three-person field test to a full shift at Crump Station.

I’ll report back to the City Council at its next meeting, Feb. 16.

Congratulations to our new MPD leadership: I had the honor of participating in a Memphis Police Department promotion ceremony Thursday morning at Airways Station, where Interim Director Michael Rallings formalized the new appointments to his senior staff.

Mayor Strickland with Interim Director Rallings

It was impressive, being in the room with so many years of leadership of our police department. Following the ceremony, I stayed around for what I think was a frank and open discussion of some of the issues facing our city.

Just like this email, it’s part of my plan to communicate, communicate, communicate. We’re all in this together, and it’s important we all know the facts as we move forward.

See you at the Racquet Club: Many of you know I love watching and playing tennis, so you can expect to see me once or twice next week at the Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster, one of just 10 American stops on the men’s professional tennis tour. One night, I’ll be reading a proclamation about how valuable the tournament is to our city.

Think they’ll let me play a match, too?


Mayor's signature