MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Filling the top spot at the Memphis Police Department is now pushed back as a new candidate is in the running.
Turns out Durham Police Chief Cerlyn Davis had been on the short list before, but asked to be taken off and then be put back on.
“It was for personal reasons related to things related to the City of Durham where she is currently Chief of Police and she was looking for an opportunity to make sure it was a good time line and fit for her,” said Alex Smith, Human Resources Chief for the City of Memphis.
The head of Memphis Human Resources says it’s no reflection on the other seven candidates, and the Mayor thought it fair to give her a chance.
Pastor Bill Adkins is among the people who will interview the new candidate as he did the existing seven.
“We gave him our recommendations, and of course now we thought that was it with those seven, but we were quite surprised that an 8th one has shown up,” says Reverend Bill Adkins who was among the panel interviewing the Police Director Candidates.
Adkins says the police director’s position is important especially right now
“I want a police chief, that is not so worried about the blue line, but the human line, not so worried about what are the policemen thinking but let’s do the job right, let’s keep people safe. And let’s respect people’s lives and let’s not harm people for no reason at all,” says Adkins.
And with Memphis facing a rash of interstate shootings, kids being killed by gunfire, and now new laws allowing easier access to guns, finding someone to tackle those issues will be crucial.
“The Police Director that is coming into Memphis is going to be left with even a more complicated problem because of gun legislation,” says Josh Spickler with Just City.
It’s why many have and continue to call for more community involvement in the selection of a police director
“There are communities in this city that are disproportionately and deeply impacted by how we police and who polices us and there was not a mechanism that I am aware of for those people to be heard. The people who hear gunshots, who have high violent crime rates in their communities,” says Spickler.
“This police director is going to probably be the most important decision that we’ve made for police director in a long time,” says Adkins.