Memphis PD Initiatives
Community Outreach Program (C.O.P.)
The Community Outreach Program (C.O.P.) initiative developed through the restructuring of the Co-Acts to better serve the community relative to community policing and the reduction of juvenile violence. Its redevelopment began in 2011 and became active March 10, 2012. The unit consists of approximately 60 officers and six (6) supervisors who are provided target areas from data gathered with the assistance of the University of Memphis. These officers address the problems in the target areas through a three prong approach: identification, enforcement and education.
The National Neighborhood Watch program is one of the oldest and most well-known crime prevention concepts in history that stresses community awareness and teamwork. Neighborhood Watch in Memphis was officially formulated in 1984. It is an organization which empowers local citizens to take back and maintain a better quality of life in their respective neighborhoods. This program has shown that citizens help in the reduction of local crime by being vigilant and by partnering with local law enforcement to address the crime related issues and economical challenges within their community.
National Night Out
National Night Out and ‘Memphis’s Night Out Against Crime,’ are community events designed to increase citizens’ awareness regarding police programs in the communities; identify resources available for needy families (such as Neighborhood Watch and other anti-crime efforts like “Feed the Need” and various camps for children that are free). The Command Staff and Crime Prevention officers attend as many meeting as possible during this city wide one day event to advise citizens on the need for crime prevention and the importance of communities watching out for crime, criminal behavior, and quality of life issues in their respective neighborhoods.
Black History Knowledge Bowl
The Black History Knowledge Bowl was established to build positive, interpersonal relationships between Officers and youth 14 to 18 years old. It also fosters effective communication between the youth and police officers, develops good competitive spirit, and stimulates the participants’ minds by challenging them to excel in the classroom, while becoming a positive role model in their community. All Crime Prevention Officers, city wide, will participate in the annual Black History Knowledge Bowl competitions in February of each year. A wide range of students from Middle/High Schools throughout the inner City of Memphis will register and compete in this historic event.
The Hoops Challenge was established in 2011 to build a positive, inter-personal Police/Student relationship to help foster more effective communication. The basketball games stimulate interactions between members of the Memphis Police Department, students and school faculty to provide an opportunity to address the challenges encountered within their schools.
“Real Talk” is a program that formed as a result of the Hoops Challenge. align="justify" ; It is a direct, honest, professional line of communication between the Memphis Police Crime Prevention Unit, high school students and staff. All subject matters, pamphlets, brochures and literature will be pre-approved by the Memphis City School Administration and the Crime Prevention Commander prior to presentations.
The Clergy Police Academy is an educational awareness program that was designed as a result of Director Armstrong meeting with area ministers in 2011 to support and strengthen collaborative partnerships between the faith-based community and law enforcement. The CLPA is a five week, 10-hour curriculum that consists of classroom instruction and group discussion to emphasize some of the most common law enforcement and crime related issues that may impact clergy and their congregations.
School Supply Drive
All Crime Prevention Officers will participate in a “Back to School” Supply Drive within the various police station areas. Our goal is to supply children with start up school supplies. We understand the economic situation, especially for single parent homes. We know that by providing the necessary school supplies to some of the children in the community, the stress for fixed income households will decrease and allow those children the opportunity to have a good start towards their school year.
pply even more seniors, single parent homes, and needy families with gifts for the holidays.
Citizen's Police Academy
The purpose of the Citizen’s Police Academy is to provide the citizens of Memphis with a better understanding of police functions, how policies are developed, the decision making process, and what an officer experiences on a day-to-day basis. The academy is held one day a week, 9 week course for three hours a week. The academy classes are held at each Memphis Police Department station.
Participants are eligible to participate in a ride-a-long with a police officer, before or after the completion of the CPA program. This will give the citizens a better knowledge of what a Police Officer’s 8 hours tour of duty encompasses. The classes also provide the citizens with prevention awareness practices and comprehension strategies about ways to avoid becoming victimized.
The CPA also provides the citizens with the correct steps to file a report or inquire about personal property. Upon completion of the CPA, the graduates will serve as a liaison between the department and the community to report suspicious and criminal activity. The liaison will also help the department to identify economically challenged families who are living in unsafe conditions, need assistance with services such as food, clothes, and shelter. The responding officers will assist the families and provide them with the resources that can improve their quality of life.
Crisis Intervention Team
The "Memphis Model"
Crisis Intervention Team
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership working with mental health consumers and family members. Our goal is to set a standard of excellence for our officers with respect to treatment of individuals with mental illness. This is done by establishing individual responsibility for each event and overall accountability for the results. Officers will be provided with the best quality training available, they will be part of a specialized team which can respond to a crisis at any time and they will work with the community to resolve each situation in a manner that shows concern for the citizen’s well being.
In 1988, the Memphis Police Department joined in partnership with the Memphis Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health providers, and two local universities (the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee) in organizing, training, and implementing a specialized unit. This unique and creative alliance was established for the purpose of developing a more intelligent, understandable, and safe approach to mental crisis events. This community effort was the genesis of the Memphis Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team.
The CIT is made up of volunteer officers from each Uniform Patrol Precinct. CIT officers are called upon to respond to crisis calls that present officers face-to-face with complex issues relating to mental illness. CIT officers also perform their regular duty assignment as patrol officers.
The Memphis Police Department has approximately 268 CIT officers who participate in specialized training under the instructional supervision of mental health providers, family advocates, and mental health consumer groups. Due to the training, CIT officers can, with confidence, offer a more humane and calm approach. These officers maintain a 24 hour, seven day a week coverage.
The CIT Model has been instrumental in offering:
Special trained officers to respond immediately to crisis calls
Ongoing training of CIT officers at no expense to the City of Memphis
Establishments of partnerships of police, National Alliance on Mental Illness/Memphis, mental health providers, and mental health consumers.
The Crisis Intervention Team program is a community effort enjoining both the police and the community together for common goals of safety, understanding, and service to the mentally ill and their families. It is to these goals the Memphis Police Department stands committed.
The CIT program provides an avenue for the development of community partnerships and the collaboration of working together for community interest of service and care. CIT is about doing the right thing for the right reasons. CIT recognizes a special population that deserves special care, treatment, and service. CIT is not about fame, fortune, nor glory, but rather, one of honor and service.
As an innovative program, the CIT model encourages communities, families, law enforcement officers, and mental health professionals to act as a compass for consumers of mental illness. An increase in illegal narcotic/alcohol abuse and the “deinstitutionalzation” of mentally ill citizens has caused many to become homeless and potentially more violent which increases the chances of involvement with law enforcement. This increases the possibility for excessive force complaints and the inevitable backlash from the community.
Traditional police methods, misinformation, and a lack of sensitivity cause fear and frustration for consumers and their families. Too often, officers’ respond to crisis calls where they felt at a disadvantage or were placed in a no-win situation.
Unfortunately, it is usually after a tragedy that police departments look for change. As a proactive program, CIT acts as a model committed to preventing tragic situations and finding “win-win” solutions for all persons concerned.
A response to mentally ill crisis events must be immediate. The National Alliance on Mental Illness/Memphis and the Memphis Police Department agree that an “immediate response” is preferable to that of specialized mental health workers on call or a mobile crisis van response. By offering an immediate humane and calm approach, CIT officers reduce the likelihood of physical confrontations and enhance better patient care. As such, the CIT program is a beginning for the necessary adjustment that law enforcement must make from a traditional police responses to a more humane treatment of individuals with mental illness.
Since the CIT program began in Memphis, the citizens and the criminal justice system of Memphis have experienced significant benefits of the program. Some of the benefits of the program are listed below.
Crisis response is immediate
Arrests and use of force has decreased
Underserved consumers are identified by officers and provided with care
Patient violence and use of restraints in the ER has decreased
Officers are better trained and educated in verbal de-escalation techniques
Officer’s injuries during crisis events have declined
Officer recognition and appreciation by the community has increased
Less “victimless” crime arrests
Decrease in liability for health care issues in the jail
National advocates, such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness and The American Association of Suicidology have recognized the CIT program for distinguished service to the mentally ill. NAMI (Memphis) credits CIT with saving lives and preventing injuries, both for consumers and officers. Officer injury data has decreased by seven-fold since the program inception. University of Tennessee studies have shown that the CIT program has resulted in a decrease in arrests rates for the mentally ill, an impressive rate of diversion into the health care system, and a resulting low rate of mental illness in our jails.
Most importantly, CIT officers give consumers a sense of dignity. This dignity generates a new respect and outlook on the police and the mental health systems.
Critical Incident Services
In May of 1996, Former Director Winfrey announced the creation of the Critical Incident Services Program (CIS) to establish a comprehensive stress management program for Police Services personnel. The CIS program utilizes officers as peer counselors under the auspices of trained psychologists for crisis debriefings.
Debriefing guidelines, both voluntary and mandatory, are being utilized to assist officers and police personnel after a crisis event. Experiences may include a traumatizing scene such as a critical injury or death of a child, accidents involving fatalities, events where an officer has been placed in extreme peril, and any officer involved shooting.
On one occasion the CIS program provided much needed services to several officers during a traumatic and critical event in which a fellow officer was slain in the line of duty.
Since the inception of the CIS program, the Memphis Police Department has responded to inquiries from other law enforcement agencies seeking assistance and information.
Major Vincent Beasley
is the CIT Coordinator.
He can be reached at 901-354-1701 or by email.
Crime Reduction Utilizing
Watch the Blue Crush™ Video
Blue CRUSH™ . . . A Research Partner/Police Collaboration on Data-Driven Street Operation
The successes of the MPD’s Operation Blue CRUSH™ pilot operation in 2005 suggested a need for a sustained, integrated law enforcement approach in all parts of the city where street crime has adversely affected the quality of life for our citizens.
Operation Blue CRUSH™ 2005 categorically reduced crime in areas of the city where the methodology was implemented. These “hot spots” of crime were identified using statistical data which allowed us to pinpoint concentrations of criminal activity and better direct our resources.
Based on these initial results, Operation Blue CRUSH™ has evolved from a pilot operation to a department-wide philosophy. The Police Services command staff has developed a comprehensive plan to significantly reduce street crime by deploying the Department’s resources in a sustained and proactive manner. The Department, now restructured (Felony Assault Unit, Criminal Apprehension Team, Safe Streets Task Force, etc.), will allow more effective integration of its manpower, resources and intelligence gathering to continue to reduce crime.
The Blue CRUSH™ methodology can now be utilized in a sustained, integrated and efficient manner with the emphasis on accomplishing our goal.
Blue CRUSH™ utilizes new partnerships with the University of Memphis and takes advantage of cutting edge technology to create multi-layered crime analysis of “hot spots” based on crime data. Through the Blue CRUSH™ initiative the MPD has seen a reduction in crime.
With the crime data information provided, the MPD has demanded a higher level of accountability and responsibility from all officers of the department - from the Command Staff to Uniform Patrol.
When Blue CRUSH™ crime data is analyzed to provide information on the type of crime, day of week, time of day, and the location that the crime is occurring the department is held more accountable and responsible for the crime that occurs across the city. This critical information is used to specifically focus the Memphis Police Department Blue CRUSH™ resources in new and innovative strategies driven by accountability and responsibility.
The MPD works hand in hand with the District Attorney's Office, as well as the United States Attorney's Office, to ensure that Blue CRUSH™ defendants are prosecuted in the most appropriate venue. A coordinated media campaign educates the community and magnifies the deterrent effect of Blue CRUSH™ enforcement operations.
Whenever law enforcement intensifies its efforts in a community, public support is critical. The Blue CRUSH™ OUTREACH strategy seeks to engage and maintain public support for this effort by:
(1) Establishing sustained contact with community leaders and neighborhood groups.
(2) Developing diversified and sustained media exposure.
(3) Engaging the assistance of various referral agencies and service organizations when needed.
The Blue CRUSH™ strategy has proven results in Memphis and, over the long term, data suggests that Memphis will benefit from a unit dedicated to continuously implementing the Blue CRUSH™ strategy of relying on analysis and the efficient use of resources.
Effective Saturday, January 14, 2006, the MPD created a new unit, the Criminal Apprehension Team (CAT), to expand the resources of Blue CRUSH™. This unit will be utilized in an integrated manner with other units, focusing on both problematic crime and known high crime areas inside the City of Memphis.
Blue CRUSH™ will fall under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Unit.
The Criminal Apprehension Team will encompass the Hispanic Action Response Team and former members of the Metro Gang Unit working in cooperation with Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Auto Cargo Theft Task Force.
CAT will focus on street level crimes where crime patterns and/or specific problematic crime areas have been identified by Blue CRUSH™ methodology. CAT will also work closely with Uniform Patrol Divisions, Investigative Services Bureaus and Crime Analysis Unit to ensure departmental resources are being utilized efficiently and proactively.