(Memphis) Memphis police hired a new group of consultants to look into the recent arrests and suspensions of Memphis police officers. News Channel 3 learned the two retired Memphis police officers and a Memphis minister met for the first time in Memphis, yesterday.
News Channel 3 had to talk to one of the consultants by phone, retired MPD Lt. Colonel Billy Garrett, because he is working as a police commander at the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus in Jackson, TN. Garrett retired from MPD after 32 years on the job. He’s back as one of the three consultants to help study and analyze police policy and procedure.
“My role is to rely on my years of experience and my knowledge of police work and to know what worked for me, what didn't work,” said Garrett.
Garrett says he was not consulted about Officer Darrell Malone, the officer allowed to return to work after a citizen complained while off duty the officer flashed a gun at him. Garrett does expect he along with the other two consultants will investigate why so many officers have been arrested or involved in questionable situations this year.
“If it's a hiring practice thing, if it's a testing thing, if it's a psychological thing, just take a whole look at that individual's career and look for any common denominators across all 26 incidents,” said Garrett.
Speaking from experience, he believes more ethics training is needed.
“Yes, we had from time to time, courses on that, maybe a lecture or two, only for an hour or two or something like that, but the emphasis wasn't there,” he said.
Garrett says he’s still trying to determine if more officers are putting themselves in compromising situations or if it’s just being publicized more. Regardless, he says it still goes back to training.
He said, “Much like we do on our firearms training, our physical training or law training. Ethics and integrity need to be right up there equal to or more than my personal opinion to all of that.”
The other two consultants are retired Lt. Colonel Bishop Mays and Reverend Keith Norman, pastor First Baptist Broad. The group plans a second meeting with Police Director Toney Armstrong next week.