Low turnout for the first ‘Reimagining Policing in Memphis’ meeting

'Reimagining Policing' Advisory Council receives feedback

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Things are moving forward with Mayor Jim Strickland’s second phase effort to reform policing.

As part of an effort to “Reimagine Policing in Memphis,” Strickland created an advisory council to move forward with phase 2.

Phase 1 which took place over the summer involved listening to protesters and making immediate improvements.

In Phase 2, a 13-member advisory council is responsible for gathering feedback from the community on ways to improve the Memphis Police Department.

“To be able to gather what people are thinking and feeling about policing in Memphis.”

The first of four meetings was held virtually Monday. There was a low turnout; several activists were part of the discussion.

The first meeting touched on topics like improving transparency, increasing accountability, improving community relations and evaluating excessive use of force.

Communication with local activists was also a concern.

“I feel like unfortunately we’re seen as a joke, every time we try to reach out with a demand, every time we try to have a conversation it’s countered with the jokes,” said Activist Quevonna “Bluu” Davis.

“The police department -- I don’t think they are motivated to improve transparency. They have no motivation to improve that and they will not do that unless they are forced to,” said Memphian Dr. Joy Brooke Fairfield.

When asked who could be most effective at improving community-police relations, one person questioned why no local activists were selected to be part of the Advisory Council.

Mayor Strickland’s office said, “The Civil Rights Committee’s major focus is to work with and hear from any and all activists and the groups they represent. Additionally, the public meetings are open to anyone who wants to express their opinions and suggestions to reimagine policing in our city.”

Information gathered from the series of meetings will be compiled into a report which Strickland will receive by December, and make available to the public.

City administrators will review the recommendations and evaluate whether changes should be made.

The mayor’s office hopes more people can be part of the upcoming meetings, which will take place on Nov. 5, Nov.7 and Nov. 12.

Click on the link to register for the upcoming meetings: https://bit.ly/3mLbnur

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