Why Shelby County needs a public safety committee

The following update was originally posted to Facebook on September 18, 2022.

This week the Memphis City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution requesting help from the Shelby County Sheriff’s office and from the State Highway Patrol.

In committee, Memphis Police Department Chief C.J. Davis told council members the City of Memphis had 1,932 police officers, with a new class of 96 halfway through their training. That would leave the City about 500 officers below their goal of 2,500.

As of the last reported count, Shelby County had 72 vacant deputy sheriff positions, or 10% short of the full complement budgeted for the current fiscal year. There is also an intense and growing need for the county to hire additional corrections employees.

For the past few years, several members of the Shelby County Commission have joined me in addressing these public safety workforce needs.

What follows is a summary of these efforts and a few ideas about what more can be done to improve public safety.