MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County District Attorney is weighing in after a hold was placed on the Memphis Police Department’s juvenile crime program.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said when it comes to targeting juvenile crime in downtown Memphis, action needs to be taken.
“If there are children 8-10 years-old who are wandering around downtown unaccompanied by adults, obviously, we need to take action. If there are people of any age, juvenile or adult, who are crashing into cars, or stealing cars or hanging out of cars, brandishing weapons in a threatening manner, we need to take action.”
However, Mulroy was clear that the focus shouldn’t be on juveniles who hand out flyers or dance in the street, which were some of the things listed in a leaked document from a planned Memphis Police Juvenile Abatement Program. He said he’s glad the program is been put on hold, saying, “It’s entirely appropriate.”
“We don’t need to be focusing on things like whether there are young people downtown who are handing out flyers or ‘dressed inappropriately’ or dancing in the street. Right? That’s clearly not something that we ought to be doing,” he said.
But Mulroy said he talked to MPD about his concerns and was told it was a draft that one person had and was never an official MPD policy.
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said Monday her department is having initial discussions with key stakeholders regarding a collaborative approach to curfew enforcement downtown and as part of the summer plan will enforce the current curfew ordinance.
Mulroy said Tuesday afternoon MPD officials, representatives from juvenile court, and the downtown Memphis commission are meeting. He said he’s expressed his concerns and plans to engage with these groups going forward.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner also expressed his thoughts and concerns about MPD putting the juvenile crime program on hold, saying:
“I was concerned to see MPD stop a much-needed program to reduce juvenile crime and, quite honestly, disappointed that the Downtown Commission doesn’t see the critical need to keep our kids away from late-night entertainment districts. We must protect our citizens and the tourists coming to Memphis during the travel season, and I strongly encourage MPD to move forward with a solid plan to protect our community.”