More investigators needed to combat domestic violence in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX 13 has learned each Memphis Police Domestic Violence bureau investigator handles close to about a thousand cases a year. 

Each case is a call for help from a victim. 

Councilman Worth Morgan has pleaded for MPD to promote more detectives in every department, including domestic violence. 

Through an open records request, we discovered MPD has 20 investigators, the same as last year.

FOX 13 went to the City of Memphis data portal and found out for the past month, Memphis police responded 186 cases of aggravated assault domestic violence in the past month. 

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That’s 2232 calls a year.  

With only 20 investigators in domestic bureau, even this one type of crime can be overwhelming.

“If I had a family member or a friend that had a domestic violence case, on the face of it, I get it. Those numbers would worry me” said Memphis City Councilman Worth Morgan.  

During the budget hearings in May, Councilman Morgan pushed Memphis police to promote more domestic violence investigators.

According to figures FOX 13 obtained from an open records request, MPD has only added one investigator to the domestic violence bureau since 2017.  

Councilman Morgan told FOX 13, “It don’t think it is enough and from what I hear from our department is that we need more investigators.”

An MPD spokeswoman said the issue is manpower.

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The force needs more officers for patrol and the bureaus as well.  

Advocates for domestic violence caution, help for the victims means more than just law enforcement.

Deborah Clubb of the Memphis Area Women’s Council believes the city needs to invest in more housing for domestic violence victims.  

Clubb said “the YWCA, God bless em, has operated the only full-out domestic violence shelter for women and children.”

Clubb said there has been efforts to add another shelter but it hasn’t happened.

Just like Councilman Morgan, they are both waiting for either manpower, money or both to help to address this issue. 

“We need to do better. The most difficult thing about increasing withing the police force in one division is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”