Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Uniting law enforcement efforts

By Joe Birch - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - It took cooperation among crime fighters across the Mid-South to recapture two prison escapees from Louisiana earlier this week.

Wednesday, the Memphis Metro Chiefs of Police united for a farewell to a top cop who has been all about uniting efforts to Take Back Our Neighborhoods.

Rickey Wedgeworth, 36, and Darian Pierce, 33, were captured Monday after they crashed a vehicle at Winchester and Hacks Cross and tried to run away.  They ended up in jail thanks to work from law enforcement agencies from Tennessee and Mississippi.

"To result in a safe and successful outcome, we couldn't do that if it hadn't been for a collective effort like the Memphis Police Department brings to the table everyday,." said FBI Special Agent in Charge Amy Hess.

Retiring Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin told his fellow top brass that Memphis' new top cop, Toney Armstrong, was named in part to maintain a seamless transition in fighting Mid-South crime:

"I've always said what hurts the department is losing continuity," Godwin said. "Someone coming in and wiping the slate and starting over. He doesn't have to wipe the slate and start all over."

In fact, Armstrong pledged to maintain proven policing strategies like the Real Time Crime Center and Blue Crush - programs that take a statistics driven approach that leads to crackdowns on centers of crime.

Police forces nationwide are replicating the Memphis approach:

"Statistical based policing is about trying to define your resources and putting them in the most effective fashion," said Walter White of the Memphis International Airport.

Godwin is now headed to Nashville to work for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, a job he is scheduled to start on April 18th.

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