Memphis police chief leads community walk through Orange Mound

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 3:59 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The city’s new police chief C.J. Davis lead a community walk on Saturday. It went through a neighborhood struggling with violent crime.

It comes as Davis works on plans to combat that crime.

Orange Mound is one of the most historic communities in the country.

It was the first community built specifically for African-Americans.

But, sadly, Orange Mound has also become known for something else.

Memphis City Council member Jamita Swearingen says violence in Orange Mound has left people terrified in their own homes.

“People can’t rest well at night. They drop to the floors so that they will not be harmed while in bed,” said Swearingen. “Everyone around here is sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Swearingen invited Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis to come see the neighborhood for herself.

Davis joined Swearingen and other city and county leaders on a walk through the neighborhood.

It was just one of many community events Davis has participated in over the last month as she gets to know the city she’s in charge of protecting and works to build trust between Memphis Police and different communities.

“This is what it’s going to take,” Davis said. “It can’t be a one-and-done. Can’t be just today. We have to continue to create this type of synergy amongst our community members to come out and show everybody that we want to take the streets back.”

Community members like Jalen Pope say seeing Davis and other community leaders walking through his neighborhood is great, but he hopes it makes a difference.

“We welcome her with wholehearted hospitality and honor,” said Pope. “I think with her meeting and us correcting the crime, I think it’s going to be a great start, but we can’t stop here.”

Davis describes her plans to combat crime in Memphis as still in their “embryonic stages.”

They include hiring more police officers and reallocating manpower.

“There’s some low-hanging fruit where we can look at where our officers are assigned. Instead of having the same number of officers in every precinct or every station look to see which stations need the most officers,” Davis said.

Davis says her plans also include increasing the “soft” visibility of officers, which she says can be a deterrent.

Davis recently announced a collaboration with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol to tackle crime on Memphis roadways.

“In an effort to suppress speeding violations, interstate shootings, reckless driving, and all the recent illegal activity that negatively affects travel within this jurisdiction and throughout the county and state, we have agreed to work collaboratively,” said Davis.

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