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Memphis City Council moves forward with plans for police foundation

Memphis City Council members voted 10-0 to hire a consultant to layout a proposed public safety foundation during the Tuesday, April 23 meeting.

The temporary position comes at the recommendation of council attorney Allan Wade.

To pay for the temporary post, the resolution redistributes up to $150,000 in American Rescue Plan funding intended for the Memphis Public Libraries.  The original $2.2 million in funding for library programs overshot actual needs.

Council chair JB Smiley proposed the foundation on April 9. It has the support of Mayor Paul Young and interim Memphis Police Department chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis. However, a proposed ordinance hasn’t been presented yet.

Young and Smiley have made crime reduction their priorities.

It will be based on an Atlanta based foundation. Davis is a former deputy chief with the that Atlanta Police Department.

The proposed philanthropic and research foundation would be funded by private donations. It would also be tailored to Memphis’ specific needs. 

Along with researching best practices, the foundation could aid officer recruitment and retention through tuition reimbursement. It could also pickup the tab on the costs of allowing off-duty officers to take patrol cars home. Both are currently funded in the budget.

Regulating Solar Utilities

Council members also approved a joint ordinance updating regulations for solar utilities during the meeting. It was the second reading.

Their counterparts on Shelby County Commission passed the second reading of their ordinance on Monday, April 22.

Three bifurcated amendments scaled back demands of residents in unincorporated parts of the county. Many live within the boundaries of the Conservation and Agricultural District, which is located in the northern part of Shelby County, near Millington. 

They were voted on separately out of concern the new language would differ from the city council’s version. If that happens, both city and county charters allow for a conference committee to be formed. If the two sides still can’t hammer out an agreement, the joint ordinance will fail.

Council unianimously opposed to armed teacher bill

Members also approved a nonbinding resolution 11-0 expressing opposition to a bill approved by the  Republican-dominated Tennessee Legislature on Tuesday, April 23. It would permit public school teachers and administrators to carry firearms on school property.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.

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