© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

City Council Agrees to Memphis Police Chief Serving in Interim Role Until Later Vote

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis defends her record before a City Council committee on Tuesday, Jan. 9.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis defends her record before a City Council committee on Jan. 9, 2023.

Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis will continue leading the local department on an interim basis for now.

Mayor Paul Young wants it to be a permanent role, but on Tuesday he requested the City Council table a vote to reappoint her, and they agreed.

While Young says his support for Davis has not wavered and he will continue to push for her reappointment, at this point, getting the council’s necessary approval is still in question.

The 13-member body has to sign off on mayoral appointees. Two weeks ago, after a contentious questioning of Davis, the council – in a narrow and non-binding count – voted 7-6 in favor of replacing her.

Some members cast doubts on Davis’ efforts to curb high crime rates and whether she has implemented policies the council passed last year in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death.

Davis said she has, despite internal pushback from some at the Memphis Police Department.

On Tuesday one council member suggested postponing a vote on Davis for five months.

But Mayor Young – who just assumed office at the beginning of the year – asked for an open timeline to give his administration and Davis a chance to “show and prove” their work record.

“Above all, we all want the same thing. Everybody in this room wants the same thing," he said. "We all want a safer city.”

In brief remarks to the council, Davis, who has the backing of groups like the local chapter of the NAACP, said she was grateful for the opportunity to continue serving.

“I look forward to making progress in the City of Memphis,” she said. “We made progress, I look forward to carrying it further.”

Both supporters and detractors in attendance at the council meeting on Tuesday highlighted the ongoing debate over Davis’ tenure as chief. She’s been in the role for a little more than two and a half years.

Katie is a part-time WKNO contributor. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org