Weekly Update


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As you might have seen, yesterday was a great day for Memphis.

After months of work, we signed a development agreement for the new Loews Convention Center Hotel and will begin construction on this project in the near future. In addition to Loews building a world-class, 17-story, 500-room hotel, it has an agreement to purchase the historic Memphis Police Department headquarters located at Second and Adams. After years sitting vacant, this tired building will have new life restored through its shuttered doors as it will be included in the new hotel’s footprint.

This new development will be the perfect complement to our $200 million convention center renovation that is already underway. The Memphis convention center renovation will feature enhancements including a grand new entrance, high-end finishes and floor-to-ceiling windows that treat visitors to natural light and amazing river views.

Working to improve public safety: As I travel across our city, I get asked this question frequently: “What are you doing to reduce gun violence?” Well, we’re attacking this head-on. Below is a list of some of what we’re doing:

  • Continuing aggressive federal prosecution of felons in possession of handguns in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Serving as a leader in exploiting forensic ballistic evidence to solve shootings through the National Integrated Ballistic Network
  • Participating in our third year of the U.S. Department of Justice Public Safety Partnership to reduce violent crime
  • Continuing Crime Gun Intelligence Center, one of the few in the nation with this type of center
  • Continuing ATF Strike Force with 10 agents assigned to Memphis
  • Continuing E-Trace – internet-based firearms tracing
  • Continuing to seek tougher sentencing – worked with state legislature for tougher sentencing for violent crimes
  • Working with state representatives to repeal or change guns in cars laws with the goal of reducing theft from motor vehicles involving guns
  • Continuing use of Sky Cop gunshot recognition technology to detect shootings
  • Purchasing ShotSpotter gunshot recognition technology thanks to a Smart Policing Initiative $700,000 grant
  • Continuing to distribute free gun locks at every MPD precinct and community center

We still have a lot of work to do in this area, but we’re seeing results.

In an effort to continue rebuilding MPD, you’ll see on next week’s council agenda an ordinance sponsored by our good friends Councilwoman Gerrie Currie and Councilman Ford Canale to expand the residency requirements for commissioned officers with the Memphis Police and Fire Departments. As it currently stands, all newly-hired police officers and firefighters must live inside the city limits to be employed with these divisions. The proposed ordinance would allow commissioned officers of MPD and MFD to reside within a two-hour window from the city.

Why does this matter?

You’ve heard me talk about rebuilding MPD for the last four years. By expanding our residency requirements, we’re increasing the pool of likely candidates, and in turn, increasing our chances of putting more officers on the streets to keep you and your families safe. We’ve been making significant strides over the last two years on our recruitment and hiring, and that’s great. But, we need to do more. This will allow us to do just that.

Award-winning plan: Memphis 3.0, the City of Memphis’s first comprehensive plan for growth since 1981, has been selected by the Tennessee chapter of the American Planning Association for the Outstanding Plan Award for 2019. The announcement was made yesterday during the annual state planning conference in Franklin.

The award honors the Memphis 3.0 comprehensive plan as the state’s best in 2019. The award nomination notes the high level of community involvement of over 15,000 residents and over 400 public meetings and activities, as well as the innovative use of community-based anchors as the building block of new growth, investment, transportation connections, and redevelopment policy in neighborhoods across the city.

Hats off to John Zeanah, Ashley Cash, and the entire Division of Planning and Development team who put countless hours into making this plan a reality.


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