MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council will be voting on whether to approve CJ Davis as MPD's next police director and an ordinance that could potentially stop the plans for the Byhalia Pipeline.
"Both of these issues will have a lasting impact on generations to come," Memphis City Councilmember JB Smiley Jr. said.
Councilmembers JB Smiley Jr. and Dr. Jeff Warren know other members have been somewhat divided on these issues considering the environmental, public safety, and economic impacts at stake.
"How people are going to vote on a city council vote, I’ve been a public official long enough to tell you I am not going to predict votes," Warren said. "You never know how people are going to vote until people have voted."
When it comes to a new MPD director, a few major concerns from elected officials and the public are Davis' effectiveness in reducing crime, especially murders, and community policing.
"I do know that some council members spoke previously they’d like to see the mayor's choice be a native Memphian or at least have some time in Memphis to better understand it," Smiley said. "I do know some council members do want to see something new."
An ordinance that would limit projects, like the Byhalia Pipeline, dealing with oil or "hazardous liquids" that could affect the city's aquifer will be voted on. Warren and Smiley both agree the council has felt the pressure from celebrities, activists, and neighbors to protect the city's drinking water.
"The federal Clean Drinking Water Act requires local governments to protect clean water and their drinking water, so we are acting because the federal law tells us to protect our drinking water," Warren said.
The council realizes the weight their decisions carry on these issues.
"Whatever the council does as it relates to the Byhalia pipeline it’s going to have a long-lasting impact and the same thing goes with the council's vote on who will lead the Memphis Police Department," Smiley said.