Memphis schools are no longer interested in running their own police force, praising instead the “hybrid” developed with the Memphis Police Department, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. “Right now, we are working on perfecting this model,” said school security chief Gerald Darling. With 42 police department officers and 96 of its own security workers, the school district now has enough badge power to assign an officer to every middle and high school.
While the city police department agrees that communication is better, officers there were puzzled over the word “hybrid,” saying police and school security have worked together for decades. “We’re not doing anything different than what we were doing. They might be opening their arms to us, but we’ve always reached out to them. Maybe they are grabbing our hand now,” Lt. Alan Ruhl said Wednesday. This year, school superintendent Kriner Cash rallied African-American ministers in Memphis to fight both in the city and in Nashville for a school-run “peace force.” The superintendent often reminded groups when he spoke that police are trained in “an arrest-and-transport” mentality and not focused on the needs of children growing up in poverty. “Once you get into arrest, transport, and process cycle at Juvenile Court, it often just spirals after that,” he said.