MPD Director Responds To SCS Security Issue

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(Memphis) Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong expressed his anger with Shelby County Schools Interim Superintendent Dorsey Hopson Friday night after Hopson dealt the first blow.

Hopson called a press conference Friday afternoon, claiming MPD dropped the ball after a gun discharged at Westside Elementary school Thursday afternoon.

“The phone call was made to MPD in a matter of minutes. The report was that a gun was in school. They didn't respond. I think it's important for the public to know that the MPD has taken a position that says the schools are now county buildings, that they are not going to respond to them,” said Hopson.

“I'm a little bit concerned both for the safety of our kids, not necessarily in schools but outside of schools because of this practice or this position that MPD have taken,” added Hopson.

Director Armstrong fired back a few hours later calling a press conference, saying he and Hopson had not once spoken.

Click here to read the full statement.

“They were unsure if the gun was a BB gun or a cap gun. At the time of this call, all of our officers were dispatched on other calls and no one was able to clear to make this call,” Armstrong said about why his officers didn’t respond immediately.

He says it wasn’t until 40 minutes after the gunshot that dispatchers heard about the gun discharging.

“The board of education clearly failed to properly report this call to the Memphis Police Department…had this incident been reported properly, all resources in the area would’ve responded in emergency mode,” said Armstrong.

Hopson said Friday school policy mandates the school principal call the school board security who then call police.

Armstrong said that creates a problem.

“The problem here is that a school employee called the board of education rather than dialing 911 and giving information to a MPD communications employee,” said Armstrong.

“To hold a press conference, to stand in front of a microphone and stand in front of a camera to say that MPD is not responding to calls properly is irresponsible,” added Armstrong.

But Hopson said Thursday’s incident highlighted a larger problem between MPD and SCS.

“Over the past two or three weeks, sometimes they come out, sometimes they don't. Let me just say the sheriff’s office has been absolutely wonderful. They have picked up the slack… we've had about six or seven documented incidents where the police did not come out,” said Hopson.

Armstrong admitted “there have been issues with who the responsible agency was.”

Armstrong and Hopson have set up their first meeting in the next few days, going into the fourth weekend of the school year.

MPD has released a list of 15 schools, for which the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will be the primary responder:

BTW High
Central High
Cordova High
Craigmont High
Fairley High
Hamilton High
Hillcrest High
Kingsbury High
Northside High
Overton High
Raleigh Egypt High
Ridgeway High
White Station High
Whitehaven High
Wooddale High

Schools not on this list that are located within city limits, MPD will be the primary responder for any police situations occurring on those properties.

MPD officers will respond to calls for back-up and active shooter situations at all schools
in the City of Memphis, regardless of whether or not they appear on this list.

Additionally, MPD officers will respond to calls at all schools in the city limits concerning police situations which did not occur during normal school hours or during school-sanctioned events.