Toney Armstrong to be next Memphis Police Director - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Toney Armstrong named new Memphis Police Director

Toney Armstrong Toney Armstrong

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Veteran officer Toney Armstrong has been named the new director of the Memphis Police Department.  Armstrong's promotion from deputy director was announced Tuesday by Mayor A C Wharton.

A Memphis native, Armstrong most recently served as second-in-command to Larry Godwin, who was police director for six years.  Armstrong, 44, has been on the force for 22 years, and is the youngest director to come from within the department in the city's history.

"I'm a true testament that if you do the right thing, God will bless you," he said.

Armstrong used Tuesday's announcement to make his first promise.

"We'll continue some of the crime initiatives we have, but I promise you one of the things we'll do is to enhance our community relations," he said.

Many know Armstrong as the man who got a confession out of Lester Street mass murderer Jessie Dotson, a confession that was televised on A&E's "The First 48." But the Magna Cum Laude Christian Brothers University grad worked his way to the top, from Organized Crime to Felony Assault, Missing Persons, Crime Stoppers, Uniform Patrol, Robbery and Homicide.

Armstrong thanked the mayor and Director Larry Godwin, who said he recommended Armstrong because he works hard.

"We both grew up in North Memphis," Godwin said. "He didn't have a father and I didn't have a father. I watched mine get murdered. Toney says he didn't know his. So we had a lot of similarities. I think at the end of the day the one thing I want to convey is it's going to be a smooth transition."

Wharton, meanwhile, said Armstrong would bring "toughness, fairness, sharpness and concern for people" to the job.

The Memphis City Council needs to approve the selection.

Godwin has been hired as deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.

Powered by Frankly