Weekly Update

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I’ve written about our decades-old challenge with violent crime many times in this space. I do it because it’s top of mind for me personally, and I know it is for many of you as well. I also do it to point out the fact it’s not an easy challenge to tackle. There are many factors and factions involved all along the way.


From a City standpoint, I want you to know we’re doing everything we possibly can to address it. We’re constantly working to recruit more police officers (currently offering a $15,000 signing bonus), and have improved the pay and benefits for those already on staff.


In this year’s budget (along with City Council), we funded and have begun the work of our Group Violence Intervention Program. We’ve increased funding and opportunities at our parks, community centers, and our libraries. And, most recently, we allocated $9 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to help increase the presence of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis in more of our Shelby County High Schools. For more information, please go here.


But, we cannot fight this battle in alone. We must have help.


Below is yet another example of the revolving door that has become our criminal justice system.


In 2018, an individual was sentenced for two separate instances of Felony Drug Possession; they were felonies because undercover agents observed the individual selling drugs, the weight of the drugs, and the packaging of the drugs into small bundles. The drugs being sold included ecstasy, cocaine, oxycodone, xanax, and hydrocodone.


The sentences were for eight years for each offense, but they were ordered to run concurrently (meaning at the same time).


In April 2020, the individual was released from state prison—only two years later.  Earlier this week, he was charged with the murder of one person and shooting two others last month.


If we’re going to take the fight against violent crime seriously, the State of Tennessee needs Truth-in-Sentencing laws, so an eight-year sentence means an eight-year sentence.


S.C.O.R.P.I.O.N.: As I just mentioned, we’re doing everything we can to combat violent crime. The Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods Unit (SCORPION) began operations last Friday, 11/12/2021. Chief C. J. Davis established this Unit to address Violent Crimes such as homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies, and carjackings occurring throughout the city. The teams will also address motor vehicle thefts, theft from motor vehicles, and other felony offenses.

The Scorpion Unit will consist of forty officers that will operate in four, ten-man teams. Each team will consist of an Auto Theft Task Force, Gang Investigative and Crime Suppression Units. Crime data is used to determine where the unit will conduct its enforcement activities within the city.


Stats since inception (a week ago):


Felony Arrests=66

Misdemeanor Arrests=22

Recovered stolen vehicles=42

Weapons Recovered=52


We have much work to do, but with this targeted approach, we will make our city safer.


An historic moment: I had the chance earlier this week to attend the signing of the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on the South Lawn of the White House.