MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis has named an interim police director to serve after the retirement of Michael Rallings, and a new candidate has been added to the list of potential police directors.
James Ryall, currently deputy director of MPD, has accepted the position of interim police director beginning April 15, the city announced Monday.
The city also announced it is extending the search for a permanent director after adding a new candidate, Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis. Davis is currently the police chief in Durham, North Carolina.
The city had previously planned to present its choice for director to Memphis City Council on Tuesday. Candidate bios can be found here. Rallings’ last day on the job is April 14.
Rallings’ successor is still being decided by Mayor Jim Strickland. The Mayor is choosing from several candidates. Three are already in the department, and four are considered outsiders from other areas.
“Of course I am more partial to the in town candidates. There is a familiarity there and a learning curve we don’t have to get beyond because they are already familiar with the way things go in our department. But ultimately we want the best candidate,” said Essica Cage, of the Memphis Police Association.
City Councilman Martavius Jones says the mayor holds the ball right now in bringing forth a candidate to the Council.
“That person will come to the Council and the Council can vote that person up or down. We have no say so over who that person may be though,” Martavius Jones, Memphis City Councilmember, said.
One thing Jones hopes the Mayor is considering is the public outcry that no community forums were held in the selection process.
“To me it’s the most important hire a Mayor can make. But to me he needs to have public buy in,” Jones said.
And with Rallings leaving in a matter of days, and so far, nothing on the Council agenda dealing with the new director, the question becomes who takes the helm in the interim.
“It’s the Mayor’s decision to perhaps name someone who will be in charge of all operations that Director Rallings is currently in charge of,” Jones said.
Rallings was interim Director himself when he was appointed to the position. Many say his success in leading protestors off the Memphis bridge in 2016, led to a huge community push for him to get the top job.
Not only must this new Director rally the rank and file officers, he also becomes a symbol of Memphis.
Memphis has a set of unique qualities about it. It is gonna take a special person to come in and understand those unique qualities, so they can come up with strategies on how to deal with the crime problem we have here,” Cage said.