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Sanford: If Strickland is looking for his legacy, he may have found it an unlikely area

ABC24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford explains what moves Mayor Strickland has made in fighting crime.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland seems determined to make addressing crime and boosting the police ranks the cornerstones of his legacy in office.

Strickland is well aware that violent crime has only gotten worse under his watch – with a record number of homicides the last two years. Plus, the police force is understaffed and morale among the rank and file is low for a host of reasons.

So how is Strickland responding? For one thing, he supports legislation in Nashville – called the truth in sentencing bill – that would require some convicted felons to serve 100% of their prison terms. This week, the mayor proposed a hefty 10% pay raise for police officers over the next two years. The increase is part of the administration’s next budget proposal – which Strickland is calling a budget of renewal.

RELATED: Memphis lawmaker's bill limiting shackles on pregnant inmates passes TN Senate

The pay hike is a result of negotiations with the Memphis Police Association – and is seen as the best way to keep officers from leaving – while attracting new officers through recruitment. While the entire budget proposal must be approved by the city council, it seems unlikely that a majority of council members will say no.

The truth in sentencing bill is less certain because Gov. Bill Lee opposes it in its current form. But regardless, Strickland is determined to leave office at the end of next year – having made a serious attempt to fight back – against crime. 

If Strickland is looking for his legacy in office, he may have found it in an unlikely area – fighting crime.

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