MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis mayor’s advisory council has turned in its final recommendations on how to improve the Memphis Police Department.
WREG’s investigator Jessica Gertler found out what they want and who is reviewing those recommendations now.
“Hopefully if it works right, hopefully we can stop some of these bad outcomes from happening,” said Van Turner.
Turner, the NAACP Memphis Chapter Chairman, is one of 16 members Mayor Jim Strickland assigned to his Reimagining Policing Advisory Council, made up of clergy members, legislative leaders, civil rights activists and law enforcement officers.
For the last year, the group has acted as a liaison between the community and the Memphis Police Department. They spoke to residents across the city, evaluated police services and this summer, came up with a list of recommendations to improve the department.
“We had a meeting with Chief Davis and discussed our findings, our recommendations with her. She took those under advisement,” Turner said.
The recommendations focus on evaluating excessive force, improving transparency, increasing accountability and improving community relations.
They include ideas like implementing mandatory education on the history of policing in Memphis and more implicit bias training, as well as giving officers periodic emotional and mental screenings and more support services.
Also on the list is revamping the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, getting citizens involved with officer recruitment and more community policing.
The goal is to “have a mechanism which the community can communicate with law enforcement and it be open, honest and transparent,” Turner said.
Mayor Strickland’s office told us Chief Davis is taking “time to review those recommendations.”
The advisory group has not been dissolved and will meet with the Chief and/or mayor on a regular basis going forward — maybe quarterly or twice a year.
WREG put in a request to talk to Chief Davis about it Wednesday evening. We are waiting to hear back.
Turner is hopeful the recommendations will be implemented and said the chief is open to doing so. He just doesn’t know how long it will take.
“I think she’s trying to get her team together, digest the report and recommendations and come back to the group,” he said.