Herenton calls for metal detectors in all Memphis middle and high schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Herenton calls for metal detectors in all Memphis middle and high schools

YOU CAN WATCH RAW VIDEO OF THE MAYOR'S COMMENTS IN THE PLAYER TO THE RIGHT OF THIS STORY>>>

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton addressed a growing tide of public opinion about safety within Memphis City Schools.

As usual, Herenton spoke in terms everyone could understand.  Citing instances of violence in schools in other cities, Herenton said Memphis does not have unique problems.

"Memphis is not alone with regard to efforts to combat the growing violence within our schools," he said.

After two shootings in eight days at high schools within the Memphis City School system, Herenton said the schools could no longer control the chaos on their own.

"You can't look at this problem with rose-tinted glasses," he said.  "It's ugly.  It's real."

Flanked by law enforcement, the former superintendent-turned-mayor said it was time for them to step in.

"It is unacceptable to say to the citizens of Memphis that we cannot afford to place metal detectors in our schools," he said. "We are going to insure that metal detectors are provided in every middle and high school in Memphis City Schools."

Herenton also announced a law enforcement partnership between with the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff's Department that would focus on the increasing problem of violence within schools.

In total, Herenton said, he would immediately re-deploy 67 officers into a number of high priority schools.  Herenton also detailed plans to immediately purchase 65 walk-through metal detectors and more than 200 hand held detectors to supply to local schools.  And finally, the mayor said, the city would free-up at least $500,000 for any other security equipment that was needed.

Herenton was forceful while making his point. "The debate is over," he said. "We are going to make it happen."

Later, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell echoed Herenton's calls for better communication between local schools and law enforcement.

"I know we're all in agreement that this is no singular problem that knows no borders to seeking solutions," Luttrell said.

Herenton said he would request a meeting with Memphis City Schools Interim Superintendent Dan Ward to form an immediate action plan to improve the city's school security situation.


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