Strickland and Rallings: Progress made on police reform through meetings with community activists

Changes coming to police reform policies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland discussed the outcome of a series of meetings with clergy and community members Thursday that focused on police reform.

“Over the last four weeks I did a lot of listening and a lot of learning,” Strickland said.

Mayor Strickland says the meetings resulted in five major changes to police reform in the City of Memphis including:

  • Adopting the “8 Can’t Wait” polices to help reduce excessive force
  • Hiring an additional part time staff personnel for the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB), allocating $20,000 dollars in additional funding to CLERB for marketing and communications and agreeing to review CLERB's subpoena power as part of the City's state legislative agenda.
  • Posting board opportunities on the City's website for individuals who want to serve on boards like CLERB or Civil Service
  • Work with the Memphis Police Association to strengthen language in the "Memorandum of Understanding" in order to better hold officers accountable when using excessive force
  • Partner with community activists to be involved in MPD's Implicit bias training
MPD, mayor discuss progress made on police reform

"I think the city of Memphis has been very clear; that we're fully committed to working and that we look forward to improving the Memphis Police Departments," said Memphis Police Director, Mike Rallings.

He says he’s proud to say that MPD already had most of the “8 Can’t Wait” policies in place, and that they’ve banned no-knock warrants and plan to adopt former President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Practices.

“I believe in reimagining police, reimagining law enforcement, reimagining how we serve the great citizens of Memphis,” said Rallings.

He said MPD actually began reviewing the “8 Can’t Wait” policies in 2016, long before the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, and they have already implemented several policies, including banning choke holds and no-knock warrants, requiring de-escalation and warnings before shooting, requiring police to exhaust all alternative means before shooting and requiring use of force continuum and comprehensive reporting.

Rallings said they recently updated their policies to include a duty to intervene and report instances of excessive force, and shooting from moving vehicles is only allowed in situations that require deadly force.

Mayor Jim Strickland said he will continue the conversation to include additional people and topics.

Strickland also said he talked with the leader of Black Lives Matter and will meet with them soon about a list of their concerns.

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