MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Commissioner Erika Sugarmon hosted a community town hall in Memphis with elected officials on Thursday night. Residents were able to ask questions to Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy and State Senator London Lamar, as well as other elected officials.
“I’m hearing you loud and clear and we need to vote and vote people out of office,” Sugarmon said. “What happens so many times is that we do not have term limits – if we had term limits, in every branch of government at every level of government - we could put people who are responsive to us.”
Along with all elected officials having term limits, residents want crime addressed immediately.
“It’s always the crime,” resident Caren Smith said. “It’s a lot of our youth that are committing the crimes and so we just really wanna address that issue.”
“These kids right now, they don’t care about who you are,” resident Jhannyphil Contrerez said. “They're just robbing you, killing people over nothing. So that’s what i think is the worst right now.”
District Attorney Mulroy said he’s taking steps to address violent crime as a whole by shifting their focus away from smaller violations.
“We’re refocusing on violent crimes,” DA Mulroy said. “So I’ve instructed our prosecutors to really focus heavily on violent crime and de-emphasize things that I think are less important like for example possession of marijuana, being late on fines and fees - things of that nature.”
Commissioner Sugarmon says she’s ready to tackle the issues that haven’t been touched, like holding organizations accountable that are supposed to be making a difference.
Sugarmon said she feels like the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission is not meeting her expectations, despite her being on the commissions’ board.
“Crime commission holds a great deal of responsibility and in being a board member for six months, I have not been impressed,” Sugarmon said. “One thing they can do is start having a dialogue with state legislators. Not just in Shelby county but join efforts across the state, talk to the governor, explain the situation. It’s going to get worse unless the lawmakers do something about it. Locking up people is not the answer.”
The town hall ended with nearly half of the participants being able to ask their elected officials questions and get answers on crime, gun reform and safety.