Police substation could add extra security on Beale Street

(WMC-TV) - Memphis city leaders may soon beef up police presence on Beale Street after two separate incidents just days apart.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is promising to open a small substation in the entertainment district.

The mayor's meeting came just hours after a man wielding a knife was shot and killed by police near the FedEx Forum early Tuesday morning.

In a separate incident in front of Club 152, four Memphis police officers were injured during a fight with two suspects.

This will not be the first substation on Beale Street. There used to be a police museum and small precinct, but the precinct moved to Central Station 12 years ago and the museum closed in 2006.

Mayor Wharton said he wants to keep Beale Street safe for visitors.

"Might sometimes give the impression, 'Oh boy, it's just a horrible place.' But I feel very comfortable in it," said Wharton.

The Memphis Police Department already operates an entertainment district out of the South Main Precinct with a high concentration of officers assigned to Beale Street.

Even so, Wharton said plans for the new substation have been in the works for one year.

"So it's not a passive presence, if you will, and that's what we seek to get out of this. Not because, 'Oh man, we're getting so many calls, we gotta have the cops right here,'" explained Wharton.

Beale Street Merchants Association President Ty Agee said he feels just as comfortable on Beale Street as he did when he started working there 20 years ago.

But he concedes security is a top priority.

"We are tickled to death that they're putting a substation back down here on Beale Street. It's nothing but a plus for us," said Agee.

The substation facility requires some repairs but the new substation should open within 30 to 45 days.

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