Mayor names Mike Rallings as new police director, defends his decision for a national search

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Inside Memphis City Hall, supporters gathered to hear Mayor Jim Strickland make a long awaited announcement about Michael Rallings.

"I'm very happy to be here this morning to formally announce and discuss my selection for police director, Mike Rallings," Strickland said.

Strickland removed interim from Ralling's title and appointed him as police director.

"Mike Rallings is a great police officer, a great leader and great man," Strickland said.

Strickland's selection of Rallings ended a national search. The search included five other finalists for the city's top cop position.

"I wanted to be able to look the citizens in the eye and say I got the best possible person I could, and you can't do that unless you do a national search," Strickland said.

But that national search conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police came with a price tag of $40,000.

Some argue the search was not needed after the way Rallings and MPD handled the Black Lives Matter protest that shutdown the I-40 bridge.

Still, some City Council members, such as Patrice Robinson, said the search process was needed.

"We want to make sure we are carrying them out, especially when you are spending dollars that aren't just taxpayer dollars, but we've had some foundations that contribute and you want to finish that," Robinson said.

Now that the search is over, Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said he hopes Strickland gives the director the tools he needs to successfully fight crime and improve relations between police and the public.

"I hope he sets Director Rallings up for success and not failure and not use him as a scapegoat," Williams said.

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