Mayor introduces plan to focus more officers on crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor introduces plan to focus more officers on crime

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton has come up with an innovative way to put more police officers on the streets to fight crime.  His new approach is to have non-commissioned officers take care of time-consuming tasks that are not directly related to crime.

"We will soon be unveiling a plan that covers some major operational changes."

Mayor Wharton says the police department will soon get an overhaul.

"I think there are some things the police department is doing by way of commissioned officers that could well be done by non-commissioned officers," he said.

A Police Executive Research Forum study last year found police spend too much time answering false alarms, roaming dog calls, and non-injury traffic accidents.

"Those are hours that could be spent on real stuff," Wharton explained.

With that, the mayor will soon release his plan to shift the police department from its full-service model.

"Do we need to bring back the PSTs? That's a big question," he added.

Police Service Technicians are unarmed support personnel who work crash investigations, issue non-moving traffic tickets, and recover stolen vehicles.

"In many cities, they've turned that function over to somebody else and you don't have police officers, commissioned officers," said Wharton.

The model shift would allow commissioned officers to focus on patrols, crime scene response, and investigations -- putting more boots on the street.

The mayor has not yet revealed if new people will be hired for those non-commissioned officer positions or if the employees are currently in-house.

He did not say when the full plan will be unveiled.

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