City council debates merits of study for crime lab

Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 5:58 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis City Council discussed several major topics at today’s committee meeting, including bringing a crime lab to the Bluff City.

City leaders say one of the first steps towards getting a crime lab here in Memphis is completing a feasibility study. Many city council members agree the City of Memphis should have a crime lab. The problem is how much the study would cost the city and where that money could come from.

The initial cap cost of the feasibility study was $600,000, which would come from the general fund.

Tuesday, after debate, the council voted to amend it and lower the cap to $300,000--money that would come from the ARPA.

“Do we really want to spend money on this year and try to build something that would take four to five years to get up and running and functioning, or do we want to put our efforts into getting the state to be more proficient in getting stuff to us?” said Dr Jeff Warren, Memphis City Councilmen.

This “feasibility study” will look at this project from all aspects to determine how successful it would be.

“It’s not so the city of Memphis to bare the cost of it but after conversations with state legislators, doing the feasibility study for them is the first step in asking for money,” said Chase Carlisle, Memphis City Councilmen.

Councilmen Worth Morgan and Martavius Jones sponsored the bill for this crime lab. Morgan said he is OK with budgeting for $300,000 but Jones worries the study could come back higher than $300,000.

“Part of bringing down crime is solving crime, and I don’t see how without this we can get to that end game in solving crime,” said Martavius Jones, Memphis City Councilmen.”

“The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago and that’s the same with this investment. So, if you are frustrated that the work that the money would go towards wouldn’t even begin in 4 or 5 years, I agree that is frustrating but it’s not a reason not to do it,” said Worth Morgan, Memphis City Councilman.

Councilman Jeff Warren said it’s more about staff having the knowledge to successfully run the building than it is about the facility itself.

“It’s going to take longer to train the staff than it is to build a building. We can build a building and have an empty building, which is why the chief didn’t bring this to us as one of the things she needed because she knew she didn’t have staffing,” said Dr Jeff Warren, Memphis City Councilman.

Action News 5 still does not know who will conduct the study or how long it would take to get done.

The council will make a final vote on how much to spend on this study later Tuesday night.

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