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Category: Criminal Justice

Late Memphis Supreme Court Justice Fortas In The News Again, Deserves His Whole Story To Be Told

Thumbnails: The late Memphian, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Abe Fortas, is used by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his pretzel logic about the appointment of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor.  It’s worth remembering the entire and powerful story of this distinguished Memphian’s life and how raw politics blocked his appointment as chief justice in one of the U.S. Senate’s darkest moments.

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Question For Memphis Reimagining Police Committee: More Police Or Better Police?

Thumbnail: After 48 years of police directors chosen from within the Memphis Police Department culture, Memphis has the opportunity to bring in new perspectives and new ideas with a new hire who is prepared to answer the key question:  Does Memphis need more police or better police?  It is now also the primary question that is front and center for the newly appointed City of Memphis reimagining police committee. 

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Young Leaders In Philadelphia Driving Police Reform Debate

Thumbnail: The Philadelphia Millennial Advisory Committee  – created by city government to obtain input from millennials.  They may be getting more than they bargained for, becuase the group is a model of active leadership by young leaders and they are making the most of the opportunity to provide candid, honest, and direct opinions, most lately on the subject of police reform and issues related to Black Lives Matter.    

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Can The Police Committee Be A Force For Change, Not More Of The Same?

Thumbnail: The new committee on reimaging policing has the opportunity to be the change agent that Memphis has needed.  It requires them to do more than rely on the usual suspects for ideas, data, and recommendations.  Recent research by Prof. Barry Friedman and commentaries by consultant David Eichenthal are must reads for the committee to get off on the right foot.

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New Magic Number For Police Is 2,800: Is Enough Ever Enough?

Thumbnail: City of Memphis has yet another magic number for the size of its police force.  It continues the arrest and jail philosophy that has largely failed to develop a balanced crime-fighting plan that includes prevention and intervention. City Council is being asked to go on record in favor of a 2,800 police force but without the other critical elements to reducing crime.

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Ending Systemic Racism: What Should Government Do?

Thumbnail: I recently posted a New York Daily News’ column by David Eichenthal, prominent consultant on city finances and justice with the PFM Group.  He was also lead consultant to City of Memphis’ Five Year Strategic Fiscal and Management Plan.  He says police and corrections have become sacred cows, with elected officials calling for more police as a show of their commitment to crime reduction, when it is time to reexamine and revamp hiring practices to require standards of professionalism, no tolerance policies toward abuse, and common sense policies limiting the use of force.

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The Fiscal Case For Defunding The Police

Thumbnail: Prominent consultant on city finances and justice David Eichenthal’s New York Daily News op-ed is especially relevant to Memphis.  He says police and corrections have become sacred cows, with elected officials calling for more police as a show of their commitment to crime reduction.  He cites that Memphis spends 38% of its budget on police and now’s the time to consider other options to fight crime.   

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Budget Uproar Suggests The Need For More From The Sheriff’s Department

Thumbnail: Another volatile county commissioners’ meeting resulted from suggestions that the sheriff’s budget should be reduced.  The budget is significantly larger than the mayor’s budget and accounts for 45% of the general fund.  The sheriff needs to step forward to lead the process to reimagine better law enforcement.

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Latest Bill Day Cartoon

Herd Immunity, A Cartoon By Award-Winning Bill Day

by Bill Day. Memphian Bill Day is two-time winner of the RFK Journalism Award in Cartooning. His cartoons are syndicated internationally by Cagle Cartoons. Cartoons Archive →

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About Smart City Memphis

This is Smart City Consulting's blog and its purpose is to connect the dots and provide perspective on events, issues, and policies shaping Memphis and its future. Smart City Memphis was named one of the most intriguing blogs in the U.S. by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change; The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal wrote that "Smart City Memphis provides some of the most well-thought-out thinking about Memphis' past, present, and future you'll find anywhere," and the Memphis Flyer said: "This incredibly well-written blog sets out to solves the city's ills - from the mayor to MATA - with out-of-the-box thinking, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ideas. If you have questions, submissions, or ideas for posts, please email the blog's editor, Tom Jones, at