MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It has been a bad year for Memphis Police, with a near record number of officers fired, arrested, and suspended. When an off duty cop shot and killed a 15-year-old boy last September, he said it was in self defense. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said it was time to take some action. “Obviously,” he said, “something isn’t working correctly.”
Wharton said he was forming a special committee to look at the troubles in the police department. A week and a half later, he said the process was moving forward. “Rather than do it quickly, we want to do it right,” the Mayor told reporters. “They’ll have a big job, so just give me a few more days, we’ll come out with the names.”
He’s had a few more days, alright. Twenty one of them to be exact. The Mayor’s chief of staff says there is still no committee and the Mayor is still not ready to release names of people he wants on the group.
Nobody is telling the Memphis Police Association, the union that represents city cops, anything at all. “I think we should definitely be involved,” says union head Mike Williams. “We do represent the officers, after all. If there are concerns, we can address them to the officers. The police department proper should also be involved.”
Williams says all the talk of reporting bad officers, and the talk of all the investigations is making some police officers overly cautious while working. “You have to go after [law breakers] aggressively,“ he says, “but you have officers now that are saying should I really do that. They’ve called me and said things like, 'Should I sit outside that dope house to curtail drug trafficking if that dope boy can call and say I’m harassing him.'”
Members of city council still have no idea what the committee is going to do. Nobody seems sure of anything, other than the mayor will hopefully have some answers in a couple of weeks.