Toney Armstrong to leave MPD and take job with St. Jude

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is leaving the department to take a job at St. Jude as Director of Security.

Armstrong will leave office January 31.

In a news conference, Armstrong started by thanking his mother and wishing she were still alive to see him today.

He said his mother was strict with him and it was the guidance he needed to have a good life.

Armstrong also said it was important to keep his Memphis roots, "It was very important for me to stay in the city, because I think sooner of later, we're gonna get our of our own way and something great is going to happen and something is going to explode and Memphis is going to be a great city."

He has been with the department for 27 years, was already set to retire in 2017 due to his participation in the DROP program.

A national search has been underway.

"It is not surprising that one of the crown jewels of our city, St. Jude, would recognize the talent and leadership of our city's Police Director, Toney Armstrong," Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement. “I sincerely thank Toney for his commitment and dedication to the city, and for his work with the Memphis Police Department.”