Law enforcement in Shelby County down hundreds of officers, crime forum reveals

  • In US
  • 2022-09-30 03:27:24Z
  • By WHBQ

As crime continues to be a problem across Shelby County, county and city leaders are turning to the public to try to explain and find solutions.

Thursday evening, a panel sat down to address the public in another crime forum, this time at the First Baptist Church Broad in Binghampton.

Right out the gate, it was Sheriff Floyd Bonner that mentioned an ongoing issue in his department - retention and recruitment.

"Just in the jail alone, I'm 334 officers short," Bonner said.

County Commissioner Amber Mills, who is the chair of the law enforcement, corrections, and courts committee for the county, said she plans to keep pushing for better benefits and pay for our officers.

"Our law enforcement officers are heroes and unfortunately with the 'defund the police' movement, they've been treated like villains," said Mills.

For Memphis Police, they're having many of the same problems, but Assistant Chief Shawn Jones said they're on track to hire a total of about 300 officers this year alone and in an average year, they have between 80 to 120 officers who may leave.

Jones laid out how their gun crime unit, which consists of 12 officers, has handled more than 700 gun crimes this year alone and the department has responded to more than 15,000 shootings in general for 2022.

He said there's also an alarming rate of stolen guns.

"We've had more than 2,900 guns stolen from cars this year, that's a lot of guns, but people are keeping guns in their cars because they can't bring them in certain places they go," said Jones.

For attendees, these numbers are alarming, but for one woman FOX13 spoke with, it's essential information that people need to have,

"It's important when you're having forums to provide the community with information that addresses their concerns," said Gerre Currie, who said she's been at every crime forum.

She said she looks at the forums as a way to ask questions and hold city and county leaders accountable.

"I'm a Memphian. I will continue to live in Memphis. I'm engaged. I'm concerned. I'm active and I just want everybody in this community to have that same passion for moving this community forward," she said.

Sheriff Bonner also announced a study done by the University of Memphis and the Crime Commission that included interviewing more than 300 inmates and detainees in the jail to find out the root of why they committed the crimes they committed.

He said those findings will be released next week.

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