MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor Jim Strickland was right to promptly address the failure of Memphis police to spot a body that went unnoticed inside an impounded vehicle for seven weeks. But the mayor`s disappointment and frustration must also accompany an equally swift determination of who all is to blame for this blunder, and those responsible should go.
That might sound harsh, but there is no other way to send the proper message that a violation of police policy this egregious will not be tolerated.
Police impounded the passenger van on December 18 after a robbery in which the van`s driver was shot multiple times.
Workers at the impound lot are required to go through every seized vehicle and inventory the contents. That obviously was not done in this case and the body was not discovered until Monday of this week when the wounded driver went to retrieve the van and discovered the body himself.
It`s certainly probable that police impound thousands of vehicles each year, but I don`t buy the excuse from the police union that this incident resulted from a personnel shortage. Even if every inch of an impounded van is not inspected, it`s nearly impossible to miss a human body unless absolutely no checking is done.
Public safety is about more that catching bad guys. It`s also about doing the routine but necessary things that protect the public.