MPD residency requirement: breaking down the numbers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

MPD residency requirement: breaking down the numbers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Part of the resistance to expanding police residency requirements is a concern that there is racial discrimination against qualified candidates. Friday, Action News 5 examined diversity in the Memphis Police Department by breaking down the numbers. 
 
"We've got to come together and show that we're one, and doing the right thing."

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin spoke with Action News 5 earlier this week about his relationship with the Memphis City Council - specifically, with council members who suggest the department is discriminating against African American police applicants. 
 
"I respectfully disagree," Godwin said Wednesday. "They are wrong. That is not happening here."

From January to June of this year, there were 913 police applicants - almost 14 percent of them were hired:

  • 56 were black males
  • 41 were white males
  • 19 were black females
  • 8 were white females

The top reasons for applicants being rejected:

  • More than 38 percent failed physical and learning exams
  • More than 25 percent didn't show up after their application was accepted

Memphis Police Union president J.D. Sewell says racial diversity is reflected at the police training academy. 

"Is actually more black that white, 'cause the commander's black, the lieutenant that's running the background checks division is black, the doctor of psychology that some on the council have accused of discriminating against blacks - he himself is black," Sewell said.

Godwin said he was confident his department will pass a council investigation into hiring practices, with flying colors.  


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