Weekly Update

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The door at 201 Poplar keeps on revolving and continues to put us in harm’s way.

Here is yet another sad example. On December 11, 2020, Joe Wilhite shot a gun into a car containing six people, including four juveniles. Fortunately, no one was struck by a bullet. On August 18, 2022, he pled guilty of two counts of Aggravated Assault, but was given probation with no prison time.

Just 28 days later, on September 15, 2022, Mr. Willhite shot and killed his girlfriend. On September 22, as Sheriff deputies were trying to arrest him, he shot and killed himself with a stolen handgun.

If you are like me, this saddens and angers you.   

Here is an update on another example. Last week, I told you about a man who, while driving a car, struck a Memphis police officer on foot, causing him to roll over the hood and be thrown to the ground. He led officers on a high-speed vehicle pursuit and crashed into a citizen's car. He fled on foot. Officers apprehended him and found him in possession of a handgun. He was given a $15,000 bond.

Guess what has happened?  He has posted his bond, was released, and is out and about in the Memphis community.

This must stop!

This is the number one problem we have on the law enforcement side of trying to prevent crime – too often the judicial system does not keep violent offenders off the street. Here is our state legislative agenda for this Spring in our attempt to stop that revolving door.

A helping hand: As important as it is to punish violent offenders, it is equally important to give those in our community who want to turn their lives around a second chance and a real opportunity to make it happen.

It’s why we created Manhood University and WOWS (Women Offering Women Support). These programs help to build character, improve communication, and strengthen leadership skills for men and women. They are administered through our Office of Community Affairs in conjunction with faith-based community partners and held at their individual church locations.

Since inception, 1,266 men have graduated from our Manhood and WOWS programs. Additionally, we have helped 192 individuals reinstate their driver’s license, and we have completed 3,374 expungements to help enable a clean slate for those who need it.

Your tax dollars at work: Each budget cycle, we have several million dollars’ worth of capital improvement projects distributed all across our city. We thought it would be a good idea to visually demonstrate how your tax dollars are working laid out on an interactive map.

This map includes all mappable projects from FY17-22, the proposed FY23 projects, as well as paving and traffic signal modernization projects. The data can also be filtered by City Council district on the map as well.

Ultimately, we hope this map can be a tool to show off all the investment in neighborhoods citywide! Check it out and let us know what you think.

Thank you for your service: Earlier this week, Mayor Harris and I had the opportunity to host our annual Military Appreciation luncheon.


I truly enjoy participating each year with this event, especially for the main reason we do it. And that is to take time to say two words that can never be said enough—thank you to all who are and who have bravely served in our armed forces.

President Kennedy once said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” That is why we consider service to our fellow man to be a major way we show gratitude to those who have come before us, to those who have served so that we may be free.

I did not serve in the military. But I must remind myself all the time that it is not just that military personnel served our country and put themselves in harm’s way, but they placed their own lives on hold to do that.

That’s real sacrifice. That’s real service.

To all our veterans and to those on active duty, I hope you take today as a small token of our appreciation for what you have done to make our country the greatest place on Earth.

I want you to know personally how much my family and I—as well as the 630,000 residents of our city—appreciate you and what you have done and what you are doing.

Thank you and God bless.

Enjoy your weekend!


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