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Cohen announces funding for surveillance and accountability upgrades at MPD

As crime remains Priority No. 1 across city leadership, the Memphis Police Department is set to receive $1.9 million in federal funding to upgrade surveillance tools, along with officer equipment to increase their accountability and safety.

The department’s Sentinel Surveillance Cameras Project will receive $963,000 of the money. Blue light and officer-worn cameras and software updates will be purchased.

<br />Rep. Steve Cohen: “… for the first time in 10 years, new House rules have allowed me to direct federal spending of more than $11.7 million to projects and priorities that will improve the quality of life in our district.” (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/TSD Archives)
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

Congressman Steve Cohen announced the funding Tuesday, March 26, during a press conference in Memphis.

“This program has been instrumental in solving crimes. I had to think about Tyre Nichols in doing this because those lights show crime…committed upon Tyre Nichols,” said Cohen.

The additional blue light cameras will be posted in high-crime areas. The extra eyes are expected to help the MPD investigate stolen vehicles, for example. 

“There are certain zip codes that are considered high-crime zip codes. What we plan to do is take a deeper dive to what are the specific needs in those zip code areas, where we have the most frequency of crime,” said Davis.

It will be the seventh deployment of blue light cameras in Memphis.

“We can’t have enough technology. We don’t have enough manpower. So when you don’t have human resources, technology can be a force multiplier,” said MPD chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis. “What we don’t want to convey is that cameras are a panacea for crime.”

The remainder of the money will pay for equipment upgrades to improve officer safety.

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