MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis City Council has confirmed Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s nominee for police chief.
The council confirmed Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis by a vote of 12 to 1.
Davis has made history as the first female to lead the Memphis Police Department. It comes at a time when police departments across the country face new scrutiny about their practices and interactions with community members.
“Change means police departments need to take a deep look, a surgical examination of all of their policies and procedures to ensure they are aligned with best practices,” said Davis.
Before she was confirmed, Davis faced questions from Memphis City Council members in the personnel and governmental affairs committee. She was asked about how she would tackle the city’s crime problem, in particular homicides, which set a record last year.
Davis says one thing she wants to do is prevent aggravated assaults, which she says often lead to homicides, and will focus on the few people who commit crimes.
“Eighty percent of the crimes are committed by 20 percent of the people. Most people in the community are good people and it’s important to stay laser focused on those individuals that are committing the most egregious crimes,” she said.
JB Smiley, one of the biggest proponents of police reform and accountability, voted in favor of Davis.
“I think she represents what this community needs, fresh ideas but the willingness to work with the existing leadership,” Smiley said.
A few hours after the committee approved her nomination, the full council followed, approving Davis by a vote of 12 to 1.
Here’s what Davis had to say after the confirmation vote.
“This is a historical moment for the city. “I think it’s an exciting time, you know, not just for me. I think it’s an exciting time for the city as well. We have a lot of hard workers that are trying to get it right. Sometimes it helps to have a different perspective,” said Davis.
Davis will start her new job as Memphis police chief June 14.