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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

True Blue Tuesdays hopes to bridge the gap between Memphis youth and MPD

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings believes True Blue Tuesdays will open the door for discussions empowering young people about the law and law enforcement.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — This week another child shot and killed in Memphis tallying 29 youth lost to violence in 2020.

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings says we're on a dangerous path and believes the True Blue Tuesday program will help young people grow up to be empowered and law abiding citizens.

"Four of those children died from accidental shootings, so they had no business being around a firearm.  Two died of some type of crime and now 23 have been murdered," said Rallings.

MPD's director understands that sometimes people can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but even that comes down to choices.

"So, I'm hoping that we can have these types of conversations to help some of our kids to make it to graduation and grow up to be successful adults," said Rallings.

Ike Griffith of Memphis Youth Services has made a career of helping young people find life solutions and he's helping power this initiative.

"Many of our young people are not aware of the laws and how to respect authority and also knowing their rights, so we use True Blue Tuesdays to sort of give that information to our young people and all citizens for that matter," said Griffith.

Rallings says True Blue Tuesdays gives participants the chance to see what police officers do beyond what they see in the media.

Sessions are virtual because of COVID-19 with 3-thousand viewers for the first one in October.

Part of the experience is the breakdown news clips of police and civilian incidents offering the opportunity to talk about what went wrong or right, while also providing a glimpse into what training is like.  

For Rallings an investment in area young people is assurance for MPD bringing possible recruits. 

"Eighty percent of applicants come from Shelby County. The police department reflects the demographics of Memphis it's 55% African American, 42% Caucasian and 3% Hispanic and 1% other," said Rallings.