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The challenges & solutions Memphis Police leaders say they face in the fight against crime

A lengthy discussion Tuesday followed last week's high-profile murders in Memphis that drew national attention.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday, in a more than hour long discussion in front of the Memphis City Council, Memphis Police leadership discussed their short and long-term solutions to fight crime and also conceded ongoing challenges in keeping streets safe.

"These are the frustrations we deal with on a day to day basis; the consequences have to correct the problem," Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said.

Chief Davis said her department plans to install and run more than 80 new cameras soon, and link other private cameras into the Real Time Crime Center.

"The more cameras we are able to access, the quicker we are able to mitigate situations such as last week," Chief Davis added.

RELATED: 3 killed and 3 injured in Memphis shooting spree | A timeline of the rampage

MPD is also finalizing a single alert system to better reach all Memphians during situations such as last week's hours-long 'shelter at home' order.

"Whatever that message is, instead of sending out messages in different platforms, one message system," Chief Davis said.

RELATED: How one Mid-South town keeps its residents safe with alert system

With MPD still more than 500 officers short of their 2500 goal, Tuesday, the Memphis City Council approved a resolution urging Shelby County and the state do more to help MPD patrol and monitor certain intersections. 

"We are actually the thinnest operating budget out of all of them. And people are constantly coming to the city government, now, we need to be accountable to that - but we need partnership and support," Memphis City Council Member Chase Carlisle said.

City council members and Chief Davis also shared frustration in delays for processed rape kits from the TBI. DNA testing on a 2021 kit linked to Eliza Fletcher's accused killer - Cleotha Henderson - took 11 months.

RELATED: Backlogged sexual assault test kit issue resurfaces in Memphis

"If you are telling me you need an extra $1, $2 million a year to expedite every single test, we need to look at the opportunity to have our own forensic center here in the city of Memphis," Carlisle added.

"TBI takes in not just our rape kit evidence, they take in all of our forensic evidence and we are basically in line waiting with the rest of the state to receive those results," Chief Davis said.

MPD leaders met with the Memphis-Shelby County Schools superintendent Monday and the Shelby County Juvenile Court judge Tuesday on ways to strengthen partnerships, help children, and lower juvenile delinquency.

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