MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) – Give us a straight answer. That is what Whitehaven residents said.
They are fed up and angry about the city trying to close police precincts. Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said in the past that Mt. Moriah, Raines and the Old Allen precincts may shut down due to budget cuts.
Armstrong says precincts may close if city council continues to cut his budget. He’s lost more than $6 million, but says no precincts will close this year.
“I would like to see the leadership say I’m going to start at the top. I’m willing to make a sacrifice to show you that I care for you,” said an angry Whitehaven woman as she took the mic during a town hall meeting at Berean Baptist Church Wednesday night.
Residents were furious after hearing their police station on Raines Rd. may close.
“It's going to make us feel very uncomfortable,” said Lynn Powell.
Powell has been living in her Whitehaven community since 1974 and can’t imagine her neighborhood without her precinct.
“If the new station is way over there near Airways by the time somebody starts in our neighborhood, they'll have time to do anything they want to do, so I can't understand why they want to close my precinct,” said Powell.
Director Armstrong and the mayor wanted to come to this town hall meeting to ease peoples concerns.
“We are not going to stand here and say, oh everything is going to be perfect. That is not true. What we can tell you, we will be fair and open in any decisions that we make,” said Mayor A C Wharton.
“Did I say I'm going to close precincts this year? No. I will not close a precinct this fiscal year,” said Director Armstrong.
“I wanted to make them aware that if we continue to cut, and I don’t have the ability to hire, then I wont adequately be able to staff nine precincts. It takes 145 officers to staff a precinct,” the director stated.
Mayor Wharton and Director Armstrong said there will be more town hall meetings like this one to keep everything transparent and figure out where to make additional cuts.