Weekly Update

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Last Friday in my Weekly Update , I talked about how criminals know and understand what a “Revolving Door” the Shelby County court systems are. The message is clear to them—there are little-to-no consequences for criminal activity.

Here is another example:  18-year-old Chase Harris

Memphis Police Department                  201 Poplar

12/20/2022    Arrested for motor vehicle theft                Released without a bond

4/20/2023      Arrested for motor vehicle theft                Released on $5,000 bond

5/9/2023        Arrested for 5 counts of agg. assault        Released on $55,000 bond

(shooting at people at Huey’s) motor

vehicle theft, etc.

5/9/2023        Arrested for theft from motor vehicles      Released on $10,000 bond

5/13/2023      Arrested for motor vehicle theft                Released on $50,000 bond

And, after all this, the district attorney has not filed any motion to revoke the bond.

Catch and release.  Catch and release.  Catch and release. Catch and release.

The message is clear to the criminals—it’s ok to shoot at police officers and civilians. It’s ok to steal as many cars as you can because there is very little punishment or consequence for your actions.

Remember, just six months ago, a man who shot at a police officer three times entered into a plea agreement with the district attorney and received probation—no prison time!  Even though the officer opposed the deal, the court approved.

The system is broken. The court systems are our number one problem on the law enforcement side of trying to reduce crime.

Nevertheless, the city will continue to pursue our comprehensive efforts to reduce crime by

  • working to improve early childhood literacy
  • providing more and improved programming for children and teens
  • recruiting good paying jobs
  • offering second chances for those Memphians who have struggled in life
  • connecting more people to the incredible opportunities available like free job training and high paying jobs
  • continuing to grow our police department
  • continuing to seek tougher state laws on gun regulations and sentences for violent criminals.

Moving on: It's with mixed emotions that we announce Memphis Animal Services (MAS) Director, Alexis Pugh, will be leaving the City of Memphis next month.  I am sad for us, but happy for her and the wonderful new opportunity in her career.

Since 2016, Alexis has served MAS as an exceptional and transformative servant leader. During her time here, she has completely turned around the operations and reputation of the shelter. With her leadership, the save rate at MAS has been nearly 90%.

We will miss Alexis’s passion, energy, leadership, and dedication to the City of Memphis and our animal population.

In the interim, Chief Chandell Ryan will work closely with the MAS staff to ensure continued and uninterrupted operations during this transition. Please expect additional communications soon.

We wish Alexis the best as she takes the next step in her career path.

Public Works Citizens Academy: Earlier this week in the Hall of Mayors, 37 Spanish speaking Memphian's graduated from the first generation of the Public Works Citizen Academy. Public Works has made it a priority to improve citizen outreach and education. One key area identified was to create an outreach strategy that would improve engagement with Memphis’s Hispanic community.


The program was 12 weeks long and included speakers from the 311 Call Center, MLGW, Code Enforcement, Storm Water, Solid Waste, Street Maintenance, MPD, Drain Maintenance, Environmental Maintenance & Inspection, SARP Program and Memphis City Beautiful. Additionally, the Public Works Safety team trained and certified the 37 participants in CPR.  The academy is a great example of new program that has been tremendously beneficial, and we already have a full class signed up for next year’s class.

Thanks to Public Works Director, Robert Knecht, and a very special thanks to Valentina Henao for her invaluable leadership and role in making this a huge success.

Abe Goodman Clubhouse: Last night was the grand reopening of the Abe Goodman Clubhouse at the Overton Park 9 golf course. It was the second phase of a project undertaken by private donors and the City of Memphis to transform golf at Overton Park.

The first phase was a $2 million complete redesign of the nine-hole golf course which was opened to the public last summer by golf course builders, King-Collins. The course has already seen a nearly three-fold increase in rounds played in the first year of operation.

The renovation of the clubhouse was undertaken to preserve the history of the nearly 100-year-old building by Fleming Architects and the contractor, RL Campbell. The $1 million project stabilized the building, expanded the deck on the North side, created a standalone Pro Shop for checking in and buying merchandise, and will also allow for events to be held in the large space that used to hold the Pro Shop.


Also at the event last night, I had the opportunity to meet Coach Jerard Butler from Middle College High School and two of his players—Emery Butler and Daylon Dockery (pictured below). 


With a heavy focus on youth golf at the Overton Park 9, I know these two young men and many other young folks will get to enjoy this beautiful course and clubhouse for years to come.

Be safe and enjoy your weekend!


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