Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong began his career as a United States Army Field Artillery Specialist where he enlisted in 1983. In 1986 he was honorably discharged with the rank of Specialist Fourth Class.
He became a member of the Memphis Police Department in 1989. He worked at the West Precinct (Union Station) in the housing projects and consistently ranked high among the shift leaders in all statistical categories. In 1991 he worked as an undercover operative and later as an investigator with the Organized Crime Unit, where he targeted well known drug kingpins with several successful felony convictions.
In 1997, he was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to the Robbery Division. While holding this position he learned two very important skills as a police officer interviewing and interrogation. These skills would prove to be vital in his following years. One year later he was asked to be a team leader with the Organized Crime Unit.
In 2000, he was promoted to Lieutenant and started in the uniform patrol unit where he implemented an effective training and professional assessment program that increased morale. He was later appointed as the supervisor of the homicide bureau, where he led the Homicide Bureau to have the highest ranked solve rate with an 87 percentile. During his stint as Lieutenant of homicide, he used the critical skills he learned for interviewing and interrogation and helped solve homicide cases involving fellow police officers and the most famous murder case in the history of the City of Memphis known as The Lester Street Murders.
In 2008, he was promoted to Major and assigned to the Investigative Bureau and became Bureau Commander for Homicide, Felony Assault Unit, Missing Persons and Crime Stoppers. Also during this period, he became a public figure after receiving accolades from being one of the biggest stars on the nationally televised police show The First 48.
In 2010, he was appointed to Deputy Director and managed the Memphis Police Department’s day-to-day operations. During this time, he used all resources available to maintain peace and order to more than 683,000 citizens.
Appointed as Director in April 2011, Director Armstrong is currently commanding the Memphis Police Department, a law enforcement agency which staffs more than 2,400 officers and manages a general operating budget of over 200 million dollars. Like his predecessors, Director Toney Armstrong is committed to improving the quality of life for all Memphians.
Director Armstrong holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Christian Brothers University, finishing with the distinction of Magna Cum Laude.