Memphis Police Director Shifts “Community Action” Program


With declining staff and failing facilities, the Memphis Police Department’s CO-ACT program wasn’t working very well. So police director Toney Armstrong decided to do away with CO-ACT — short for “community action” — and replace it with something else, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The program began in 1994 as a way to reach out to communities and neighborhoods through closer contact with officers. It included 16 substations that were supposed to offer community programs and outreach.

Armstrong is fleshing out his new program, including deciding on a name for it, but he hopes it will be operational within the next month. Officers will be assigned to the program. Previously, they were allowed to request that assignment. “This allows us the flexibility to choose officers suitable for that kind of work,” Armstrong said. “(Officers) will have to show a lot of compassion. Have to have a lot of patience. It’s something you have to want to do.” Armstrong listed several programs he’d like to see instituted by the new stations, including health fairs, food drives, coat drives, school-supplies drives, and efforts to provide air conditioners for the elderly.

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