Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update


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You surely know by now that fighting violent crime is priority No. 1 for me. To do that, we must do so many things -- both as a government and as an entire community. But one of the most important things I can do is prioritize our police department, so that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

This year alone, we’ve received more than 1,500 applications to join our police recruit classes. The bulk of the applications are for the academy class that starts next March, though a good number of them are for the class that starts in a few weeks.

To put it in perspective, we’ve averaged about 500 applicants per year in the past few years. This year, we’re at 1,500 and counting.

Why? We made it a priority, putting energy and, yes, money behind it. We’ve made an all-out advertising blitz with our “Best In Blue” campaign. I’m sure you’ve seen the ads by now. The investment was large -- $400,000 -- but I wanted to share with you today the fruits of the investment and the tangible impact it will have on public safety. It’s an example of how to intelligently use your tax dollars.

After graduating a class of 24 officers from the academy a week ago today, our police force stands at slightly more than 2,000 officers. Our budget funds 2,304 officers, and our high-water mark was 2,452 almost five years ago. We need to build back toward those higher numbers, all the while retaining our current officers.

A stack of 1,500 applications won’t produce anywhere near the number needed to get that in one fell swoop, but it’s an encouraging start. Rest assured that Director Michael Rallings and I are committed to keeping it up.

Paving schedule: You may remember that the current year’s capital budget, which was passed in June, contains $16.5 million toward paving streets -- 10 percent more than last year.

So where is that money being spent? Well, crews are scheduled to be in the Prospect Park subdivision in South Memphis early next week, completing jobs that started early this week. And from there, they’re scheduled to move to the Lamar-Holmes Industrial Park and to the Edge District by October.

Heads up: We’re hosting a college and career fair next Friday, Sept. 9, as part of the Southern Heritage Classic weekend festivities. More than 80 regional colleges, universities and career opportunities will be showcased from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pipkin Building at Tiger Lane. Find more information here.

Follow us: You’re well aware that clear communication is a priority for me. To that end, our Communications staff launched two new social media presences this week: Twitter and Facebook for the city proper. Follow along!

Congrats, Shelby Farms!: Our friends at Shelby Farms Park cut the ribbon on a major enhancement project, the Heart of the Park, Thursday morning. We celebrate with them, and we hope you enjoy this great asset to our community.

And finally: Here’s hoping you and your family have a great Labor Day weekend. Go Tigers!


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