MEMPHIS, tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings held a joint press conference Tuesday outlining new items the city and the department will adapt.
A new website was created called Reimagine Policing in Memphis. The website will give residents an opportunity to file a complaint, view policies and procedures and view demographics.
The new website will also allow you to submit suggestions and feedback of the Memphis Police Department.
Strickland said the website is how they’ll expand the community conversation around reimaging the Memphis Police Department.
“Reimagine Policing in Memphis” – that’s the message you’ll see on the homepage of the city’s new police accountability website.
Strickland said there will be a portal for people to submit recommendations as they continue reviewing police reform policies.
“I think we ought to improve our training, and the changes we’ve made, I think those are some fundamental changes, but the core mission of the police department shouldn’t care,” said Strickland.
He said after his meeting with Black Lives Matter Memphis last week, he wants to improve how to improve mental health calls.
“We have a nationally recognized CIT program throughout the police department, but do we really need our police officers to respond to every mental illness call? So, we’re looking at that issue,” Strickland said. “We have dumped so many responsibilities on our police officers, maybe its best a counselor or mental health expert respond to back to my mental illness example.”
But community activist Theryn C. Bond said a new website isn’t a push toward progress, especially in a city where people have limited access to technology.
“How do those folks that don’t have access to a computer, phone, any other digital device or access to internet, how can they submit a complaint, how can they find out about these updated policies and procedures?” Bond asked.
During Tuesday’s news conference, Police Director Mike Rallings said MPD would not monitor this website. Instead, he said he believes someone from the city administration should review the content that comes in and then refer it to them.
But Bond said she has questions about that process too.
“We don’t even know where the information goes, who gets it, how long will the information be retained,” said Bond. “What are the steps in the place to say this is how we escalate a potential complaint that is received? And even with that and even with that, there are still phone numbers and email addresses. Filing an IAB or CLERB complaint - well, why isn’t that part of the website?”
Strickland said officer complaints are currently all on paper, which means requesting those files can take time. He said he believes they need to move to an electronic process following the lead of other cities that have made that transition already.
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