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Law enforcement expert talks future of police reform in Memphis

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With calls for police reform after the death of George Floyd, law enforcement agencies in Memphis and across the country made changes to policies.

Bennie Cobb is a retired Captain with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

”Accountability starts at the top and I think we’ll see some major changes here. It’s already happening,” Cobb said.

Cobb says Memphis and Shelby County did the right thing when implementing new policies to hold officers accountable.

”It’s up to the heads of the law enforcement division, the police chiefs, the sheriffs and mayors of these major cities to implement changes so this won’t ever happen again,” Cobb said.

In 2020 the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced a new “duty to intervene” policy allowing deputies to intervene and report the use of excessive force by another deputy.

The Memphis Police Department also announced it adopted “8 can’t wait” -- a group of policies to end police brutality including banning choke holds, requiring warning before shooting and a duty to intervene.

While these are steps in the right direction, Cobb says there’s a long road ahead to build trust within the community.

“The relationship between law enforcement and the citizens has to be repaired. It’s not an us against them or them against us -- it’s a situation where the citizens need law enforcement, law enforcement needs citizens,” Cobb said.

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