MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The city of Memphis welcomed in a new era of fighting crime with the city council approval
Ceralyn “CJ” Davis is now the first woman to hold the position and the first external candidate in years.
“I’m very happy with the council vote. They learned over the last couple of weeks what I learned very quickly is Chief Davis is a superstar,” said Mayor Jim Strickland.
Davis is the current chief of police in Durham, North Carolina.
She spent most of her career moving up the ranks within the Atlanta Police Department.
She’s also a former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives or “NOBLE”.
Davis says she’s already been thinking about a 90-day plan once in office.
A big looming question is how will this “outsider “handle appointing a new staff.
She said she wouldn’t move quickly on her decisions, but did say how much she appreciated the veterans of the force.
“I plan to utilize that. I need them by my side to help me understand the past, understand where they have issues and how to get through challenges together,” said Davis in a press conference immediately following her confirmation.
However, the vote for Davis’ confirmation wasn’t unanimous.
Councilman Martavious Jones was the lone “No” vote.
Councilwoman Rhonda Logan abstained.
Jones said, “The hiring of the police director is probably the most consequential that the Memphis City council had to make and I just feel like we did not have enough time.”
Jones says he still has concerns about Jones’ fit in Memphis.
Jones says Chief Davis told him in a private conversation that the city of Durham doesn’t have an officer recruitment issue.
Recruitment and retention are an issue in the Bluff City.
Mayor Strickland says the city is hundreds of officers below the target number.
“I think we can do the same amount of hiring that I’ve done in previous jobs, you have to sell your city. You have to make people want to come here. There are some great things happening in the city of Memphis,” said Davis.
Councilman Jones says even though he voted “No” it doesn’t change his working relationship with Davis moving forward.
Davis says she has to get back to Durham to finish her work there as Chief.
She says they are in a complicated budget situation.
Davis will have a quick turnaround to start her now job.
Her last day in Durham is June 10 and her first day on the job in Memphis is June 14th.