Expiring MPD contract will not impact SCS safety - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Expiring MPD contract will not impact SCS safety

Police car outside Booker T. Washington High School. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Police car outside Booker T. Washington High School. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Memphis Police Department's contract with Shelby County Schools expires at the end of the current school year.

For the 2016-2017 school year, Shelby County Sheriff's Office will provide the officers for SCS.

Rickey Starks kids are grown, but his grandkids are in Shelby County Schools. He said he worries for their safety every day.

With the contract between MPD and SCS ending, some Shelby County Commissioners had harsh words for Memphis city leaders.

"That's unacceptable, and that ought to be unacceptable to every parent," Commissioner Mark Billingsly said.

He said schools are one place parents should feel safe about leaving their children.

"Every time we make an inch of progress, they pull out of something, and we go back two inches," Commissioner Terry Roland said.

The commissioners implied the end of the MPD contract could put students in danger.

"To abandon those kids and pull 20 positions, somebody will pay with their life over that poor decision," Billingsly said.

But the MPD officers who will no longer fill the schools will be replaced. Shelby County Sheriff's Office deputies, who already provide security to most Shelby County schools, will take over the 23 positions previously held by MPD.

"It's the same thing," Rickey Starks said. "Police is police. They can handle their job. They got to do what they got to do."

Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham said the change will require extra manpower from his department, but he's prepared to keep the students safe.

"I hope that they can take care of it. If not, the parents have got to come up," Starks said.

The 23 positions MPD was using to patrol SCS locations will now be assigned to other areas of need. Next year, the officers will be extra bodies protecting the streets instead of schools.

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