Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong unveiled his plan to the city council on Tuesday that will redraw the boundaries of the city's nine police precincts.
Director Armstrong said his police force is a reactive department as many officers spend the bulk of their time responding to calls.
The reorganization will help the department be more proactive, the police director added. Changing the precinct boundaries will allow officers to spend more time patrolling their beats. It will get officers out of their cruisers and into the community more often.
"This gives us the opportunity to get back to some of the things that we once did," Director Armstrong said.
The changes will also make it easier for victims of crime to see a detective.
"It gives us the ability to manage our personnel better, gives us the ability to distribute our resources better," Director Armstrong said. "Our officers, our precincts now will all have the same amount of officers assigned to them."
Officers in some parts of the city are responding to twice as many calls as officers in other regions. The department has reviewed its procedures over the last year and they came up with this new plan and it will level the playing field.
The new precinct boundaries will go into effect Jan. 1.
"Our younger officers have not been exposed to a lot of proactive policing," Director Armstrong said. "Our officers with seniority that's been with us for awhile have been kind of discouraged because they hadn't had the opportunities to do some of the proactive policing that they probably once were exposed to at the beginning of their careers."
The director says this new plan will also provide a better citizen to police officer ratio in all areas of the city.
The police department will also change the organization of its investigative bureau. General investigators - the detectives that handle most offenses like robberies and assaults - will be working out of the precincts. Specialized detectives -- like homicide detectives -- will still work out of 201 Poplar Ave. downtown.
Starting in February some investigators will move into the precincts.
"We want to be able to make our investigators accessible to the community to our citizens 24 hours a day and we're going to put investigators back at the precincts to do that," Director Armstrong said.
The department has been planning these changes for more than a year. The Director says it will give officers a better shot at reducing crime in Memphis.
"Change does not always come easy but I think given time the officers are going to respond to it," he said. "I think it's going to be a great thing for them and more importantly it's going to be an even greater thing for our citizens."
These changes will provide the city with a more effective department, Director Armstrong added.
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