Police Director responds to council member's claims - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Police Director responds to council member's claims

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin

After the Memphis City Council voted against loosening the Memphis Police Department's residency requirement, council member Wanda Halbert suggested there is something fishy going on regarding the way the MPD hires new recruits. 

Tuesday, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin went on record to dispute those claims.

In an interview with Action New 5, Godwin defended his department's hiring practices. 

"I have nothing to hide," he said. "I open the academy doors. How do you think we got accredited?"

Godwin said the department hires an average of 17 percent of all new applicants - well above the national average of 2.5 percent. 

But City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert isn't convinced. 

"We know that there are some irregularities in the hiring process for police officers," she said.

Halbert said there are approximately 30-40 deputy jailers who have applied within the past several months and have been denied jobs.

"And that's just very questionable," she said.

Godwin said he can explain Halbert's claim: In 2008, 42 former and current deputy jailers applied to become Memphis police officers.  Eighteen of them failed the psychological test.  Others either had an arrest record, failed to show up for their interview, falsified information on their application, or got other jobs.  

Since 2004, Godwin said, almost 62 percent of all new Memphis police hires have been African American.

"Why in the world would we be selective and eliminate applicants, just for the sake of eliminating applicants? This director's not going to do that, nor would I permit that," he said.

Godwin said he is not aware of any complaints on file from the EEOC or the Justice Department currently regarding the Memphis Police Department's hiring practices.

Click here to send an email to Anna Marie Hartman.

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