By Peter D’Abrosca | Tennessee Star
In his weekly update, Memphis’ mayor lamented the city’s “revolving door” of crime, and said he supports new tough-on-crime legislature recently enacted by the Tennessee legislature.
“Last week, I told you about a man who, while driving a car, struck a Memphis police officer on foot, causing him to roll over the hood and be thrown to the ground. He led officers on a high-speed vehicle pursuit and crashed into a citizen’s car. He fled on foot. Officers apprehended him and found him in possession of a handgun. He was given a $15,000 bond,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “Guess what has happened? He has posted his bond, was released, and is out and about in the Memphis community.”
The next section of the weekly update was titled “This Must Stop!”
“This is the number one problem we have on the law enforcement side of trying to prevent crime – too often the judicial system does not keep violent offenders off the street,” Strickland said.
As a solution, Strickland referenced the state’s legislative agenda, which includes the recently-enacted “Truth in Sentencing” bill.
“Last year’s ‘Truth in Sentencing; bill was a major step towards making sure that the people who are committing violent crimes remain in prison for their full sentences,” Strickland said in a weekly update from October. “Aggravated assault needs to be added to the list of crimes that are serious enough to mandate prison time and be ineligible for probation.”
Strickland also said the city is actively working in the community to rehabilitate past offenders in hopes that they will not offend again.
As important as it is to punish violent offenders, it is equally important to give those in our community who want to turn their lives around a second chance and a real opportunity to make it happen.
It’s why we created Manhood University and WOWS (Women Offering Women Support). These programs help to build character, improve communication, and strengthen leadership skills for men and women. They are administered through our Office of Community Affairs in conjunction with faith-based community partners and held at their individual church locations.
Since inception, 1,266 men have graduated from our Manhood and WOWS programs. Additionally, we have helped 192 individuals reinstate their driver’s license, and we have completed 3,374 expungements to help enable a clean slate for those who need it.
Memphis has been the subject of national attention for recent violent crime.
After the alleged murder of teacher Eliza Fletcher at the hands of a career criminal, criticism was heaped on the city and the state over its backlog of sexual assault test kits, which the state is now addressing.
Shortly after Fletcher’s body was found, a man called Ezekiel Kelly went on a murderous rampage throughout the city, some of which was broadcasted live on Facebook.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “Jim Strickland” by Aspaan-19. CC BY-SA 4.0. Background Photo “Memphis Skyline” by Hellohowareyoudoing. CC BY-SA 3.0.