MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the city of Memphis continues to fight an uphill battle against the spread of the coronavirus – it is becoming clear that several issues around policing will also get plenty of attention in the second half of 2020.
Since the brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, most of the focus has been on police reform. And top brass in the Memphis Police Department – along with Mayor Jim Strickland – have pledged to institute changes to make policing more accountable to the community.
But other concerns are also top of mind. They include a looming battle before the city council to remove a referendum from the November ballot on police residency. Before last year’s council left office, the group agreed to seek approval from voters on loosening the residency rules to allow officers to live within a 50-mile radius of Memphis. Currently most officers are required to live inside Shelby County.
You can also expect a council debate over removing officers from the civil service system, which would make it easier to get rid of abusive cops.
And let’s not forget the city’s nagging problem with deadly violence. Memphis is currently on pace to match – and possibly eclipse - the record of 228 homicides from 2016.
So as you can see, police business will be important business in the coming months. And all of these issues deserve our time and attention. And that’s my point of view.