Weekly Update


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As you may have seen two days ago, the Court issued a ruling declining our motion to modify the 1978 Consent Decree. That being said, it’s by no means a bad thing. From the City’s standpoint, we’re actually very pleased that the Court is not interpreting the Consent Decree so narrowly as to prohibit our work with CrimeStoppers and the Multiagency Gang Unit.


In last week’s email, I listed out three different scenarios. What may not have been clear is that all three scenarios were real-life situations that were presented to the Monitor.  We received an interpretation of the decree from the Monitor that suggested that MPD was severely limited in addressing the situations. For example, in scenario three, we were instructed that we could not accept the information nor pass it along to the Grizzlies security staff.


Based on this interpretation of the decree by the Monitor, we were concerned that we would not be able to accept tips from extremely helpful citizens or organizations like CrimeStoppers or even continue to effectively operate the Multiagency Gang Unit.


The newly issued ruling gives some clarification and guidance on what the City can and cannot do when it comes to police officers being able to effectively do their jobs—keeping all of us safe.


First 8 Launch: We’ve worked hard to do our part to help the youth of our city choose the right path instead of the wrong one. We’ve added literacy programming in summer camps, expanded library programming, re-opened branch libraries on Fridays, and we’re reinvesting in our community centers. But, we still need to do more.


Instead of reaching children when they’re potentially already behind, we need a more comprehensive approach to make sure they don’t fall behind in the first place. That’s why yesterday we had the official launch of First 8 Memphis, a comprehensive early childhood system that focuses on children from 0-8 years of age by taking a holistic approach and investing in home visitation programs, expanding to child care, Pre-K and K-3 services.


As is stands right now, roughly 24 percent of third grade students in Shelby County Schools are reading at grade level. It’s unacceptable. That’s why for more than two years, the City and County worked together to find a way to expand Pre-K, a key strategy in the First 8’s early childhood system. And this past spring, we proposed a joint ordinance to fund 1,400 Pre-K seats as part of our larger plan for universal Pre-K. First 8 will be the fiscal agent to ensure the money is well spent and metrics will be used to ensure our children are receiving the education they deserve. 


I’m excited about what this means for our children. They’re the future of Memphis, and their success or failure will define our city’s path for years to come.


Golf: Most folks don’t get to say that they work with a Hall of Famer. At the City of Memphis, we do. Recently, our own Administrator of Golf, Mickey Barker, was inducted into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame for his exceptional play on the men’s golf team during his time as a Bison. At the City, he has improved our golf programs and the courses in our system.


Congrats on this honor, Mickey! Keep Swinging!



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