Weekly Update: Another step in rebuilding MPD


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Last night, I stood in front of the 66 newest members of the Memphis Police Department. I welcomed them on behalf of a grateful city — and I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on their service to us, too.

125th Recruit Class

This was another larger-than-usual class that’s the fruit of our renewed emphasis on police recruiting that started when I took office. As you recall, the City did very little police recruiting between 2012 and 2015, leading in large part to our declining ranks and enabling the violent crime rate to rise.

We have reversed the trend of declining ranks, hiring more police officers in our first two and a half years than we did in the four years prior.

We have so much more work to do, of course, and hiring more officers is hardly our only strategy to reduce crime. (See the full strategy here.) But we do have more officers than we did just one year ago, and we’re working to restore our staffing in the years to come.

An honor: We were honored at last night's graduation to have Capt. Jerry Williams from the MPD hiring class of 1948 — and one of the first African-American men to join MPD. He had earlier said this: "I wanted to help. I saw a need to serve my community." His words are still true today. 

Welcome, Cash Saver: I wish you could’ve seen the enthusiasm Wednesday when we held a grand opening for the new Cash Saver grocery store in South Memphis, which replaces a grocery store that closed there back in the winter. 

We worked alongside community partners, led by Councilman Edmund Ford Jr., to make it happen. This was a great success story of the Community Builder PILOT, a program of our Economic Development and Growth Engine (EDGE). Reid Dulberger and our crew at EDGE have been on a roll lately, bringing jobs and growth to Memphis.

Cash Saver Opening

Welcome, convention center hotel: The developers we’ve been working with to enable the construction of a massive new skyscraper hotel near the Cook Convention Center shared more of their plans this week. The Memphis Business Journal had a nice article.

Remember the context here. Shortly after we took office, we were approached with a proposal for City government to shoulder the burden of building a new hotel. I said no — I said we were in the services business, not the hotel business. We didn’t need to spend City dollars on this.

Shortly thereafter, we received more proposals about hotels — this time, with the developers themselves taking on the project. We worked hand-in-hand with the developers, and here we are, today, on the cusp of a skyline-changing, convention business-changing project.

It is further proof that our vision of taking care of the basics and pursuing public-private partnerships is working.

Working together: Shelby County Mayor-Elect Lee Harris and I had breakfast at The Cupboard on Union Avenue Tuesday morning. We talked about everything under the sun, but with one common theme: How we can work together to accomplish our shared goals. I can’t wait to get started.

Making big-time progress: Check out this interview with our Joann Massey — yet another in a line of pieces of national publicity we’ve gotten for our minority business improvements. In our first two years, we’ve increased the City’s minority contracting share by 98 percent.

Remembering the Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin was born at 406 Lucy Avenue in South Memphis, and became known around the world as the Queen of Soul. We mourn her passing Thursday morning, but I know I speak for all Memphians when I say that we celebrate the spirit and soul she brought to this world.


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