New Task Force Will Look At MPD Procedures

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(Memphis) A soon to be formed group will have a main target, digging into what's going on at the Memphis Police Department.

"It's crucial that we establish and maintain a public trust. I think some recent incidents have raised in some people's minds a question of trust," said George Little, City of Memphis Chief Administrative Officer.

The incidents include an off-duty officer accused of flashing his gun at and then threatening a motorist  and another officer in the spotlight for moonlighting as a rap star promoting violence.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is calling for new eyes to take a look at police procedures, particularly in the area of discipline.

"Disciplinary process should be about changing behavior, but if the behavior has not changed I would argue that disciplinary problem is not adequate to the task," says Little.

There will also be a focus on what training officers receive and support offered to them in their life and death jobs.

The Memphis Police Association says a citizen type review board is not a problem, but it needs to be made up of  people from across the city and police officers who understand the work.

"We don't want it to get to be a witch hunt, where individuals have certain wishes, wants, desires and ability to try and control the police department," said Mike Williams of the Memphis Police Association.
City leaders say officers and the MPA will be brought to the table, as will the public in an effort to regain your trust.

"We don't want people to be unsure if they are pulled over on traffic stop. We don't want people to feel uncertain if they phone in a complaint or report an incident. We gotta maintain a public trust," said Little.

By the end of next week city leaders are expected to announce the official name of the new task force and the people who will be a part of it.