Mayor, police director meet with residents in community conversa - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor, police director meet with residents in community conversation

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a review of Memphis Police Department just months after protesters shutdown the Interstate 40 bridge.

According to the city, Mayor Jim Strickland and MPD Director Mike Rallings invited the DOJ to review both community-oriented policing and the use of deadly force.

Following the protest that closed the I-40 bridge, Strickland promised to have a more open relationship with Memphis residents. The first of those meetings happened Tuesday night. That community conversation brought out approximately 100 people from the Frayser area. 

Strickland said the goal of the meetings is to ensure everyone's voice is heard. That is something he does not think took place in a previously held town hall meeting. He said Tuesday night's community conversation was a success because it allowed people to speak up and express what they would like to see changed.

"Conversation with our customers, the citizens, is important," Strickland said.

The mayor will participate in a series of conversations throughout Memphis. The first of the town hall style meetings was Tuesday evening in Frayser at MLK Preparatory Academy.

Community leaders, along with Director Rallings, answered questions rooted in concerns about unemployment, crime, and youth programs.

"We are going to work with young people to try to show them a different way to go about doing things," Rallings said.

"We need to have a conversation and it's not just them talking to us, it's us talking to them," Strickland said.

Community members expressed their ideas of what it will take for change in the city.

"Once we change the mindset of the people through faith based communities then I think everything will change," community member Ron Billingston said.

Despite the town hall style format, there were some who felt like the meeting was unproductive and reminiscent of the town hall held following the bridge protest. 

Strickland said he wants every voice to be heard in the hopes that real action can follow the meetings.

"I want to see real, tangible action," Strickland said.

Currently, there are four scheduled meetings on the calendar, but the city could add more at a later date.

If a community is interested in having a community conversation, you can contact the mayor's office. 

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