Weekly Update

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Over the last several months, I have written in this space several times about the challenges faced by police officers arresting the same individuals over and over. I have also written you many times about the reason why they are struggling with this issue—weak state and federal criminal laws which have little to no deterrence effect. 


Here are more examples, but this time with non-violent crimes that have also greatly increased in number this year—Theft from Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Thefts.


In the last 30 days, the Memphis Police Department has arrested 130 individuals for those two crimes; 104 of them have already been released from jail and are back on the streets, and 13 of those released had been arrested before for the same crime(s).  Also, 63 of the 130 individuals are juveniles, which translates into almost no punishment and likely little outreach from the courts to help turn their lives around.


But, there is hope.


You’ve seen in this space where I have written about out Group Violence Intervention Program (GVIP). As a reminder, it’s a comprehensive and collaborative initiative aimed directly at interrupting the cycle of violent crime by adding new and significant resources to that work. GVIP has been developed from evidence-based practices that have worked in other cities.


To see some of our progress over the past year in this long-term effort, go here.


EPA announcement: City government has been made aware the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be reaching out to the community surrounding the Sterilization Services of Tennessee facility located 2396 Florida Street located in South Memphis. The facility is a commercial sterilizer that uses a chemical gas called ethylene oxide (EtO) to sterilize devices such as medical equipment.


Yesterday’s EPA announcement about the possibility of increased risk around facilities that use EtO understandably raises concerns of people that live in the area. Rest assured, our administration is doing everything we can to get immediate and definitive testing by EPA of this facility and information to our citizens so that we can understand whether a risk exists and what we can do to mitigate it.


When we were informed about this pending announcement, we immediately contracted with an environmental company to test the air near the facility. I was relieved to know that, during the four-day monitoring period, levels of EtO were not detected over OSHA determined permissible limits. But despite those findings, our community deserves to know the results of definitive monitoring as soon as possible. We will work closely with our partners at Shelby County and the Shelby County Health Department to keep you informed. To view the contracted environmental study, you can go here.


Pardon our progress: As I have said many times, we are in a state of rebirth, rejuvenation and reinvestment in our city the likes of which we have not seen in decades.


On that note, I wanted to share a couple updates on projects that we either cut the ribbon for or broke ground on this week.


Thank you to the Memphis City Council for the partnership on a record investment of over $100 million in Memphis Parks, including new greens at The Links at Fox Meadows which will open for play today.




Also, I was happy to break ground this past Monday with Councilwoman Patrice Robinson on a multi-purpose room at the Whitehaven community center.




Overall, this is a $6 million investment including a splash pad, refurbished tennis courts and a pool at nearby YMCA.


Making moves: Staying on the same topic of progress—others are taking note. It’s always good to have Governor Bill Lee in town and in his words “this city is leading with unlimited potential and economic opportunity for businesses and families to thrive.” I couldn’t agree with you more Governor.


Enjoy your weekend!




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