Mayor’s pick for next MPD Police Chief answers questions from the community

New MPD Chief has plans to work with Hispanic community

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphians got another chance to get to know Mayor Jim Strickland’s pick to run the Memphis Police Department, Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, with an hour-long Q&A session.

Questions were submitted in advance for the current Chief of Durham, North Carolina’s Police Department.

Moderated by the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, eighteen questions were asked, three for each category that was established at the beginning of the session.

Those categories were:

  • Community Policing and Reform
  • Best Practices
  • Gun Violence / Thoughts on Permitless Carry
  • Crime Reduction
  • Officer Accountability
  • Personal History (Davis’s personal experiences in law enforcement and how she intends to use it in leadership roles)
Mayor's pick for next MPD Police Chief answers questions from community

“I realize that the role of your next top cop is one that probably engenders great hope and anticipation,” Davis said during the Q&A.

Questions started with community policing and best practices, most notably how Davis feels toward peaceful demonstrations.

“We (in Durham, NC) gave community members the street; we gave them, you know, other spaces that typically commuters have, even on the freeways,” said Davis. “You know, we reroute the traffic. We try to avoid engagement.”

On the subject of interstate shootings, an escalating problem in Memphis, Davis wants to see more permanent resources dedicated to watching major roadways.

Resources could include anything from additional officers, collaborating with other local and state departments, and most importantly added technology in high-traffic areas.

“Sometimes when the cameras are up in strategic locations, especially with some of these incidents are occurring, it will actually deter some of that activity,” the Durham Police Chief said.

The subject of cameras brought her to shot spotter, a recent attempt to combat Memphis’s gun crimes.

Davis supports the technology but understands how some people in high-crime areas can think the technology is a step too far.

She wants to look at expanding shot spotter and also dispel the rumors and hesitancy around it.

“It doesn’t create over policing,” Davis said. “What it does is create an environment where officers can check on people, who on a normal day would not see anybody respond to something as dangerous as gunfire in their community.”

Toward the end, the subject of juvenile crimes was brought up, both as when they are the victims and also when they are the instigators.

Davis says she wants to get into the community, providing programs proven to be effective in curbing juvenile crimes.

All this is only part of how she plans to police, she says it’s a collaboration with communities that will make the city a safer place to live.

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