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New Memphis police chief begins first day on the job

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:10 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis’ new police chief officially starts Monday. She’ll also be the first woman to lead the department in its 194-year history.

Cerelyn “CJ” Davis is starting her new position as crime surges in the Bluff City. There’s also a push for police reform, which she’s stated she’s in support of.

As president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Davis testified before Congress last year about the need for police reform - nationwide.

“We wholeheartedly support the passing of the “Justice in Policing Act” which specifically addresses the loopholes that continue to allow policing tragedies free of oversight and accountability, environments that foster unfettered racial tension, and the continued desecration of what I’ve always thought to be a noble profession,” said Davis.

Despite those words, some Memphis activists want to see action and say they’ll be watching what Davis does as police chief to show she’s serious about reform.

Davis selected MPD veteran Don Crowe to serve as Assistant Police Chief. City Councilman J.B. Smiley also says he has confidence in Davis’ ability to tackle crime and bring fresh ideas.

As Davis takes office, Interim Police Director James Ryall will officially retire -- which he planned to do before agreeing to serve as interim police director.

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