Upswing in campus crime prompts MCS and MPD response

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and Memphis City Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash clash on the issue of an independent police department for the school district.

But they put aside their differences Wednesday to re-assure the community about commitment to campus safety.

"It's very disturbing that we have the weapons and incidents that are being committed," said Godwin.

Four MCS students at three different schools were caught with weapons on or near campus in just the last week.

Officers caught two of them Tuesday with a loaded handgun at East High School.

"Weapons, found on campus, is up," said Dr. Cash.

According to the district, 10 weapons were found on campuses so far this school year.  Six of them were loaded.  That is up from six total weapons found during the same period last school year.  Three of those weapons were loaded.

Parent Raija Jeffery's 12-year-old son, Jason, has yet to encounter campus crime.  However, she's relieved the district and police are solidifying their commitment.

"It makes me feel a whole lot better," Jeffery said.  "Let's me know they on top of they're job and they're doing the things they need to do."

More police officers, both uniformed and undercover, will up their presence in areas around troubled schools.

Meantime, the district will conduct more random metal detector checks in the mornings and throughout the school day.

"Director Godwin and I are on one accord on this very serious matter," said Dr. Cash.

They urged parents and others to join their fight.

Anonymous tips led officers to the weapons found most recently.  The "Trust Pays" program is now in effect at all elementary, middle, and high schools.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.