Citizens mostly praise MPD at hearing - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Citizens mostly praise MPD at hearing

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

There have been plenty of black eyes in recent weeks and months for Memphis Police Department's Blue Crush program.

But Monday night at a public hearing only a few citizens took jabs at police. The hearing was part of an internal review by CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies - a group that sets national standards for police departments to help improve their service.

CALEA, which also heads up the accreditation process, said concerns voiced at Monday's hearing, attended by nearly two dozen residents, will be included as part of the police department's accreditation report.

Of those who attended the meeting, several praised the department and applauded the officers' collective work on the streets of Memphis. Citizens also offered suggestions to boost the department's service.

Some residents also included more community engagement events, sensitivity training and professional conduct improvements. A few voiced concerns about questionable officer-involved police shootings and recommended stricter discipline policies.

Many say they don't have hard feelings towards the department, but they're worried others do.

"It's so tense, it's heartbreaking to know that the citizens feel so angry about the police officers, feel like they're almost in a war zone," said Jennifer Yeargin-Bush.

"Communication is key," added Robert Gurley. "We've got to be professional, we got to have more police officers. We just haven't got enough."

The police department is already accredited, this Monday's meeting was part of its re-certification process, which is voluntary.

CALEA recorded all the comments for the accreditation process.

If you missed Monday's meeting,  you can still send in your comments or call 901-636-3904. Telephone comments are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency's ability to comply with CALEA standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Criminal Justice Complex, 201 Popular Ave., in Memphis at the Administrative Office on the 12th floor, Room 1234. Ask for police spokeswoman Sgt. Karen Rudolph.

Anyone wishing to submit a written comment about the Memphis Police Department's ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, Va. 20155 or at CALEA's website.

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