Weekly Update: Continuing our actions to reduce violent crime


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I want to make sure you know a few new items about our No. 1 priority, which is the long-term reduction of violent crime in Memphis.

Last night, we graduated 34 new officers from the academy directly to the ranks of the Memphis Police Department. Please join me in welcoming them to our service!

These new officers bring our officer count just shy of 2,100, which is our goal for the end of the year. With another class currently at the academy and set to graduate in November, we should reach that goal.

Remember, we reached a modern low of 1,909 officers in mid-2017, just before our Best in Blue recruiting efforts began to pay dividends. We’ve hired just shy of 500 new officers since taking office, and we’ve hired more officers in the past two years than were hired in the six prior years combined.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done to rebuild MPD, which is a key part of our overall strategy to reduce crime.

The second thing I wanted to share today is about another key part of our strategy — strong enforcement and stiff punishment of offenders. MPD announced this week that a pair of special operations this summer resulted in 392 felony arrests and the confiscation of 171 guns off our streets. Our officers beefed up their presence in areas with high violent crime, and these were the positive results.

Even more, I know you’ve noticed the increased law enforcement effort on the interstates — because so many of you have come up to me to tell me how much you appreciate it. Through six weeks of this operation, our officers have made 360 arrests and issued 11,647 citations — all in the name of making our interstates safer.

This is in partnership with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. The results don’t lie, and I had a meeting just last weekend with Gov. Bill Lee to see how we can work together to extend the partnership.

I know you’ll join me in thanking MPD — from the brass to the rookies on the street — for their tireless work day in, day out.

Third, I'm so excited to see the results of Manhood University — our re-entry life skills program that we continue to grow. You've heard about it for a while now, but today marked the very first graduation of a class held inside a state prison. I was so honored to attend today's graduation of 14 men inside the Mark Luttrell Correctional Center. When they are released, they will be so better positioned to find work and live a productive life.

It is vitally important that we give second chances and reduce recidivism. I'm so glad that our work on this front continues to expand, and I'm grateful for the partnerships we've forged with Tennessee Department of Corrections Commissioner Tony Parker and MLCC Superintendent Taurean James.

All of Memphis has momentum: It’s still just a proposal, with plenty of work ahead. That said, I was proud to see where Project Iris came to light this week with its filing with the Board of Adjustment. Project Iris stands to deliver good jobs to the residents of Frayser, and it’s continued proof that all of our city has momentum.

We’ll continue our work to make this a reality.

Go Tigers Go: I’m looking forward to seeing you on Tiger Lane and at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium tomorrow, as our Tigers open their football season against Ole Miss. We’re well prepared with a new video board, new concessions options, improvements to the Tiger Lane towers, and, yes, thousands of bottles of water.

I can’t remember a time in which Tiger football has been more exciting. To Coach Norvell and the Tigers: We’re behind you, and we know you make Memphis proud. Go Tigers Go!

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