Task force examines law enforcement consolidation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Task force examines law enforcement consolidation

Memphis Police officers had fiery words during a special meeting of the Law Enforcement Consolidation Task Force, a group tasked with examining whether or not consolidation would help solve the problem of violent crime in Memphis.

One concern among many officers was pension.  "(We have) two completely different pensions," one Memphis Police officer argued.  "Pensions have to be funded over the entire life of the employee.  It's not something you can jump into."

But task force members assured officers pensions would not be lost in this type of consolidation.

Top cops from Louisville and Charlotte shared their consolidation stories with the committee, led by County Commissioner Mike Carpenter.

"In terms of crime fighting, we all need to be pulling in the same direction," Carpenter said. "The other thing they talked about was getting closer to the people.  Departments were more responsive to the people."

Both said the efficiency of their mergers saved money without cutting staff.  In their cases, the Sheriff's Office covered administrative duties, Corrections covered jails, and Police covered crime.

"We're doing some really good things," said Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin, "and I think those things can be used in the county."

But Don Ware, who lives in Eads, wasn't convinced.

"Where we live, we feel safe," he said. "So, why mess with it?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"Crime knows no boundaries and we know that it's only a matter of time before there's a crime issue where Mr. Ware is and where all of us are," Carpenter responded.
All agreed on a common mission to cut the crime rate in the greater Memphis area.

The task force will review five or more different models before a vote, with a December 15th deadline. 

Carpenter was quick to not the task force is just making a suggestion.  It's existence does not mean consolidation will happen.

Click here to email Kontji Anthony.
Powered by Frankly