Activist group pushes new Memphis police chief for action on reform

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Incoming Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis will have a salary of $230,000 when she starts her job in Memphis, records show. The Bluff City’s first female chief will make the same salary as recently retired Police Director Michael Rallings.

But local activists say it’s her actions, not her salary, that are their top concern.

“Her personal salary and what she gets paid is not really our concern. It’s what she does in the community and is she actually open to reform,” said Chelsea Glass, a community organizer with Decarcerate Memphis, a grassroots organization focused on criminal justice reform. 

Her group sent Davis a letter laying out 10 different action items they want Davis and her administration to tackle in her first 100 days on the job. 

The items range from releasing a timeline for all officers to receive enhanced training for various scenarios to a robust relationship with the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board

“These requests have been made for well over a decade now. So we just wanted to reaffirm that these are our expectations and we would be having these conversations with any police chief that was selected,” Glass said.

The group also calls on Davis to hold monthly meetings where the public can ask questions and give input. 

Glass says it’s crucial for there to be transparency and for relationships to be built. 

“One thing for sure about me is I’m a community, boots on the ground kind of person. I meet with anybody that wants to have a forum for discussions and what not,” Davis said.

Davis, who starts the job June 14 after she finishes up her current role as chief in Durham, North Carolina, says she’s ready to hit the ground running.

“I’ve already been doing some thinking about a 90-day plan,” Davis said.

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