Weekly Update


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In case you missed it, you should know that last night we graduated our largest class of new Memphis Police officers (85) in at least a decade.

I could go on and on about how this has been the result of some innovative, aggressive efforts. I could share how it fits into our wide-ranging efforts to reduce crime. But I’ll leave that to the guest column I wrote in The Commercial Appeal Thursday morning — click here to read it — and just share a pretty simple thought today.

Police officers have the toughest job in town. As I told our new officers last night, our city is behind you. And I hope you’ll ensure that they feel that by thanking an officer the next time you see one.

Welcome aboard, new officers!

MPD Graduates

Pardon our progress: You know by now that paving our streets is important to me. Working in tandem with our partners on the City Council, we’ve appropriated more and more money to repair our streets -- double what we were spending just four years ago.

The results are clear: Public Works has crunched the numbers and reports to me that with this funding level, we’re back on a 25-year cycle — meaning each street would be paved once every 25 years. That’s a goal of ours — and the first time in a decade we’ve been able to meet that goal!

Plus, there’s no mystery about if and when your street will be paved. We’ve put our paving plan on an easy-to-use map that shows current and future paving projects. Click here to view it. (We shared this map a few weeks ago, but it's been updated since then.)

Changing lives of our young people: The reinvestment in our young people continues with something I first told you about last week: We’re starting after-school programming at all of our community centers.

It’s our STAR program — that stands for sports, tutoring, arts and reading. We’ll be offering help with homework, reading and creative writing time, recreational and competitive sports activities, special events, and an evening meal. It’s vitally important to me that our young people have a productive outlet after the school bell rings — not simply to keep them from trouble, but to offer them opportunity for a brighter future.

If you’re interested in participating, contact your community center.

I thank Parks and Neighborhoods Director Maria Munoz-Blanco and our partners on the council — particularly Chairman Berlin Boyd and Parks Chairwoman Jamita Swearengen — for making this happen.

Congrats, Alex: The Memphis Business Journal confirmed something this week that I already knew: Alex Smith, our Chief Human Resources Officer, is one of Memphis’ Super Women in Business!

Making our streets safer: While we graduated 85 new officers last night, MPD and our law enforcement partners were busy earlier in the day making our streets safer.

In the morning, we participated in the nuisance closure of a store in Orange Mound where plenty of illegal activity had been reported. And in the afternoon, our Organized Crime Unit gave details of an operation that resulted in 26 arrests and got multiple guns and a large quantity of cocaine off our streets.

Showing our momentum: I drop by WREG-TV’s "Live at 9" program once a month, and this month’s interview focused in large part on all the development happening in our city. Check it out.

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