Questions arise regarding new Memphis police chief’s ability to ‘learn Memphis’

Memphians react to MPD Police chief nominee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Now that Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has announced his pick for the Memphis Police chief, it’s up to the city council to yea or nay his vote.

With the growing crime rate in Memphis locals question if there’s time for someone that’s not from Memphis to get situated and then tackle the city’s biggest issue.

“Chief Davis scored highly in her interview with us as did some others,” said Pastor Adkins, senior pastor at Greater Imani Church.

Davis was a top contender in Adkins’ but is concerned with bringing in someone that’s new to Memphis.

“The overall major issue in his decision is the problem of a person coming from outside to the City of Memphis, and the question is the learning curve,” he said. How long would it take this particular person to learn Memphis, to learn the culture of Memphis, to learn the police department?”

Adkins was part of the interviewing panel and says time is critical as violence in the city continues to increase.

“Do we have the time for someone to acclimate to learn, my thoughts are no,” said Adkins. “That was the major question and then we asked her that question and she said, of course, it would be a certain amount of time that she would have to take to learn the city.”

Local opinions on police chief nominee

Local activist LJ Abraham feels the Mayor should have asked for more input from the community before making his selection.

“In this case, I feel like Strickland really dropped the ball because a lot of us have been asking to be involved, we wanted the community involvement,” said Abraham.

Last month the city shared how the interview process worked and said they’d get feedback from the four panels they created which consisted of 24 people with backgrounds in policing, civic organizations, administration, and community organizations.

Late last year, a survey was issued to get community input about the qualifications the ideal candidate should have.

Despite this Abraham feels more people should have been part of that opportunity.

Memphis City Council must still vote on the mayor’s decision, that is set to happen sometime next month.

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