Memphis among 12 cities to receive Justice Department aid to fig - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis among 12 cities to receive Justice Department aid to fight crime

Jeff Sessions in Memphis (Source: WMC Action News 5) Jeff Sessions in Memphis (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions paid Memphis a visit one month ago to talk with city leaders about crime. 

Those leaders received news Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice plans to provide extra federal attention to fighting crime in the Bluff City.

That makes Memphis one of 12 cities to receive the extra help.

The DOJ said the help would come in the form of studying crime and creating plans. It said it would help local authorities study crime patterns in their city and come up with plans to reduce violence.  

The announcement follows Sessions' May visit and promise that he would help reduce violent crime in Memphis.

"We must act to reduce this surge in violent crime and keep our country and every single community safe," Sessions said.

The following cities received the federal aid: Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Jackson, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; Lansing, Michigan; and Springfield, Illinois.

Memphis Police Department Director Mike Rawlings issued a statement on Memphis being one of the 12 cities selected to receive the funding.

"I am pleased that Memphis was chosen as one of the 12 cities to join the Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership (PSP). We asked for assistance; now, we are seeing a promising commitment that will be beneficial to the Memphis Police Department and the City of Memphis. It is always a good day when the men and women of the Memphis Police Department receive additional resources to better serve our community. I look forward to continuing our efforts to reduce crime in the City of Memphis.”

Mayor Strickland said the partnership will focus on gangs and guns.

"We have obviously a gang problem and a gun problem and that's what this partnership focuses on. Gangs and guns," Strickland said.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich released the following statement:

“We are grateful to Gen. Sessions for his interest and support in helping Memphis – and all of our cities – continue and expand the fight against violent crime. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners here to keep targeting gangs, drug traffickers, and gun crimes. This federal assistance will help us in this daily fight against violent crime in the community and in the protection of every citizen’s right to be safe.” 

Memphis Police Department Deputy Director Mike Ryall said the help from the DOJ is welcomed by the city.

The DOJ did not specify how the cities were selected but the announcement comes as MPD remains critically understaffed and the number of officers could fall below 1900 this year.

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