Weekly Update

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As you may have seen yesterday, we received some pretty sobering news from Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist with Baptist Hospital. He said, “Tennessee, as we speak, is the number one hot spot for transmission for the coronavirus in the entire world”.

That statement alone is scary, but especially so when you combine it with his next comment—"I’m seeing people who are sick and some go into ICU and they say, ‘Well I’ve been good but we had this party the other night and ten people came to the house, and I didn’t feel good doing it, I feel it was probably the wrong thing to do,’” Threlkeld said. “And guess what — it was the wrong thing to do.”

I know it’s the holiday season, and for many of us, being around family and friends is a tradition.

But, I’m asking you to please not do that this year.

We now have an effective vaccine. We’re beginning distribution, and we need your help for just a little bit longer.

To help us further push that message out, the legendary Morgan Freeman recorded a spot that you will be hearing over the airways for the next several weeks. Thanks so much to him and his team for helping to make it happen.

Public Safety: For decades, violent crime has plagued our city. For me personally, it’s been one of the most frustrating and challenging obstacles I’ve faced during my time as Mayor because there is no “quick fix”. Unfortunately, the plans we make and the actions we take today does not mean our crime problem will be solved tomorrow.

It takes all of us—local officials, families, neighborhoods, churches—working together towards the long-term goal of reducing violent crime.

Last month, the Memphis Police Department started a 5-week proactive enforcement operation to further our efforts of reducing violent crimes throughout the city. The operation, Operation Cool Down II, involved uniform patrol officers from every precinct, the Organized Crime Unit, and various MPD Special Operation Units. The focus of the operation was to identify and arrest individuals committing violent crimes, possessing illegal firearms, and selling illegal drugs in the city. Below are the results of Operation Cool Down II year-to-date:


It breaks my heart to see our citizens, especially our young people, taken from their families and friends due to violence. As I’ve said publicly many times, we have a crime plan, and we’re working it every day, but we will not be successful without the help of our entire community.

Legislative Season: As is customary, the Tennessee General Assembly will kick off its legislative session on the 12th of January, and I wanted to give you some insight into a few of the items we’ll be taking to Nashville.

  • Equitable Library Funding- There has been a wide gap in funding between rural and urban libraries, and we have been working closely with the Administration on this for several years. We will continue working with Secretary of State Hargett to find an equitable solution for additional Library funding for Memphis Public Libraries.
  • Business assistance- Strengthen state legislative and administrative assistance to ensure that Memphis remains competitive in its efforts to bring jobs and investments into the city. We are firmly against any preemptive bills that would limit the City’s ability to attract and/or retain current and future businesses.
  • Mental Health Equity and Funding- Ensure that our mental health facilities are receiving equitable funding from the State, especially now when more of our citizens need additional support.
  • Public Safety- Increase funding and personnel for Tennessee Highway Patrol. Add additional Tennessee Bureau of Investigation funding for personnel for officer involved shooting investigations. Support proposed amendment to T.C.A. 39-13-102 (aggravated assault) which stiffens the penalty if the violation is committed by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle. This is a direct response to the interstate shootings happening in Memphis and will be paired with the current system of additional law enforcement around the interstates.
    • Guns in Cars- Support commonsense legislation to aid local police departments in the fight against gun crimes. In 2019, there were 2,260 stolen guns in the City of Memphis and 1,084 were stolen from cars. YTD for 2020, there have been 2,164 guns stolen in the City of Memphis and 1,229 were stolen from cars. For comparison, before Gun in Cars legislation passed, there were only 358 guns stolen from cars in 2013.
    • Red Flag Laws- In response to the senseless mass shootings occurring on an average of more than one per day in our country, adopt so-called “Red Flag” laws which allow law enforcement and specific individuals to petition a court for the issuance of an extreme risk protection order based on evidence of significant risk of injury from firearm possession.

Thank you: Two longtime members of the Shelby County Delegation will no longer be
serving in the Tennessee House of Representatives when the session starts next month. District 90 Representative John DeBerry after losing his reelection was recently named Senior Advisor to Governor Bill Lee, and District 97 Representative Jim Coley announced his retirement earlier this year.

After DeBerry’s 26 years and Coley’s 13 years in the legislature, I wanted to publicly thank them both for their service to Memphis and Shelby County and the countless hours they spent working to serve their constituents.

Have a great weekend!


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