VOL. 133 | NO. 14 | Thursday, January 18, 2018
Strickland: Memphis About to Meet Goal of Net Gain in Police Ranks
By Bill Dries
When the Memphis Police Department graduates a class of about 80 recruits Thursday, Jan. 18, at First Baptist Church–Broad, the MPD will have a net annual gain in police officers for the first time in seven years.
The net gain is a goal met touted by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland during his annual state of the city address Wednesday at the Memphis Kiwanis Club.
“Now the challenge is to keep it going, keep it moving,” he said.
Strickland also told the audience of 100 at the University Club that violent crime remains “our greatest challenge.”
“That’s why we’re rebuilding the Memphis Police Department,” he said. “That’s why we’ve partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s office to strengthen the enforcement of laws for violent repeat offenders. That’s why we’ve done so much to intervene in the lives of our young people.”
Strickland also said the city is close to identifying a “sustainable funding solution” to provide universal pre-kindergarten in the city.
Asked about the death of a woman whose body was found Wednesday morning on the Main Street Mall outside City Hall, Strickland said the unidentified woman was not homeless.
“I do know that she was in a home – either a care home or a personal home as of (Tuesday),” he told reporters. “She left in some of disagreement with the other people who live in the home and unfortunately it was so cold last night. I don’t know her personal background.”
Police believe the woman could have died from exposure to the below freezing temperatures overnight. But the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death.
Strickland said the city is prepared to open another overnight warming shelter if needed. But he said the current shelter at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., still has room.