MPD to revamp community policing, shut down COACT units - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD to revamp community policing, shut down COACT units

Memphis police will soon change the way officers work in some communities. Memphis police will soon change the way officers work in some communities.

(WMC-TV) - Memphis police will soon change the way officers work in some communities.

The police department opened its first COACT - Community Action - unit in 1994.  It now operates 16 COACTS, but only eight are staffed and functional.

"I wasn't pleased at all," Police Director Toney Armstrong said Monday. "That's a safe statement. I wasn't pleased at all."

Some precincts have three COACT offices, but others have none. Some COACTS sit abandoned, like New Chicago.

Monday, Armstrong the current community policing system is in disarray.

"After we did the assessment, we found that over the years the COACTS hadn't been properly maintained," he said. "Some had one person assigned to them. Some didn't have any."

As a result, Armstrong will shut down all 16 COACT units, which will affect at least 65 police officers.

"Nobody's losing their job," he said. "There will not be a cut in benefits. This won't affect pay or anything. It's just a re-assignment."

Armstrong said closing the COACTS is necessary to creating new community policing initiatives focused on crime prevention.

"I walked in the door when I first became director basically saying that I believe in community policing," he said. "So that's an initiative I believe in very, very strongly."

And, an initiative that's not going anywhere, though it's the end of COACT policing as we know it. He plans to roll out a new community policing initiative soon.

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