Armstrong celebrates first year as head of MPD - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Armstrong celebrates first year as head of MPD

Toney Armstrong took over as Memphis police director one year ago and now he's reflecting on his first 365 days at the department's helm. Toney Armstrong took over as Memphis police director one year ago and now he's reflecting on his first 365 days at the department's helm.

(WMC-TV) – Toney Armstrong took over as Memphis police director one year ago and now he's reflecting on his first 365 days at the department's helm.

One year down and Director Toney Armstrong is stamping his fingerprint on the division.

After spending time in the organized crime, homicide, robbery, felony assault, missing persons and CrimeStoppers units, Armstrong spent the last year putting the best of what he's learned into practice.

"This community has really embraced me," he said.

And Armstrong said he feels right at home, after one year on the job.

"I'm still excited about being the Director of Police Services," he said. "I still feel like I'm the right man for the job."

At the beginning, the changing of the guard was as difficult as could be expected.

An audio recording of a private meeting between Armstrong and his top ranking officers was leaked to the public. Armstrong could be heard calling his predecessor's loyalists "monsters" and called himself the "monster killer."

"The things you can control you do and do it exceptionally well and you don't worry about the things you can't," Armstrong said. "When these problems arise, I have to address them."

He said his officers have treaded through tough waters with the new leadership and pay reductions.

"It's just tremendous to know they're still in the game, they're still doing their jobs," he said.

Armstrong said the department put another speed bump behind it, after he learned officers under the previous administration reported thousands of crimes as "memos" instead of as actual crimes.

"I can assure you that won't ever happen again and we're moving forward," he said.

And moving into his second year, Armstrong said his community policing strategy is already gaining traction, including its first graduate from the new Memphis Police Clergy Academy.

"We feel like we're reaching out to our faith-based community," he said. "I still say that's the cornerstone of this community."

Armstrong said he'll continue fighting crime one community at a time, until all the people of Memphis feel safe.

"I'm not looking over my shoulder," he said. "I'm looking ahead. I'm not concerned about all the things that have happened in the past. You can't get so busy looking behind you that you can't see what's coming ahead of you."

Armstrong has delayed his precinct realignment plan.

He said he needs a larger compliment of officers to put that plan into motion.

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