MPD recruiting retirees to help curb Bluff City crime

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Violent crime is down in the City of Memphis, according to the latest update from the Memphis Police Department.

But property crime is skyrocketing. 

Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis provided her monthly briefing to the Memphis City Council on Tuesday, July 26, including the plan to rehire retired cops to boost MPD’s ranks.

Just one week after the Memphis-Shelby County School system announced its plan to hire retired teachers as a way to fill vacancies amid a teacher shortage, Memphis police are doing the same thing.

MPD’s bringing back seasoned vets to help the department take a bite out of Bluff City crime.

Chief Davis informed the council’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee that aggravated assaults are down 20 percent month-to-date and 4 percent year-to-date.

Homicides are also down 16 percent month-to-date and 7 percent year-to-date.

”We’re excited about a 20 percent decrease in aggravated assaults for this city,” said Chief Davis, “and we will continue to work on violent crime, even though property crime has been a heavy lift for us.”

Property crimes are the top crimes in Memphis right now. The top three are car break-ins, shoplifting and auto theft.

Chief Davis said MPD is aggressively recruiting new officers to beef up the force. 70 graduated in last month’s class and 120 are currently in training.

MPD offers a competitive starting salary of $51,000, which is higher than starting salaries for other law enforcement agencies in Shelby County:

  • Shelby County Sheriff’s Office: $42,800
  • Bartlett Police: $45,700
  • Collierville Police: $48,500
  • Germantown Police: $43,700

Chief Davis also said retired Memphis Police Officers are coming back to the job.

”We’ve already started interviewing officers that are interested,” Davis told the council, “The administration has provided 50 positions for those officers so they will augment our regular patrol. They will be visible in areas where we need more soft visibility and presence including crime prevention and talking to businesses about ways to stay safe.”

Memphis Police are also working on delivering speedier service. The Memphis Data Hub showed 90 percent of 911 calls are answered in less than 20 seconds.

95 percent is the target number. Chief Davis said the department is working on the allocation of its workforce to make sure the city’s cops can respond to those 911 calls more quickly.

“Our effort really is to reduce the amount of time that it takes for officers to get to a call,” she said, “which is an important metric for public safety. It’s not just how fast we answer the call, but how fast we get an officer on the scene of a call.”

Right now, about 1900 officers serve and protect Memphis. The goal is to have 2500.

”For us to see a 20 percent decrease in aggravated assaults and a 16 percent decrease in homicides,” Davis told council members, “we’re going to continue to move in that direction and make this city a safer city.”

MPD says more than 3,000 cars have been stolen in Memphis since January. They’ve issued a warning about a growing trend in car thefts nationwide: Kia and Hyundai models are getting stolen at an alarming rate.

19-year-old TreVeon Culbreath was recently arrested and charged with stealing three Hyundais and three Kias.

MPD calls them the KIA Boys — thieves who specifically steal these cars.

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