Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is resigning after five years to head security at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Armstrong, 48, joined the Memphis Police Department in 1989 and was appointed director in 2011. He’s overseen a department that was characterized by tight budgets, benefits cuts that contributed to the departure of more than 400 officers, and four line-of-duty deaths at a time when there’s a national call for more accountability of police. “You’re talking about five years of some of the most stressful and trying times that this city has ever seen,” he said. “So, absolutely, there were mistakes made — but there were a lot of wins as well.”
Mayor Jim Strickland will conduct a national search to find Armstrong’s replacement. Armstrong had worked as an undercover operative and supervisor in the organized crime unit; as an investigator and supervisor in the robbery and homicide bureaus; as a precinct commander; and as a deputy chief in charge of several precincts. Armstrong was the youngest person to hold the police director post. St. Jude’s hospital expects to increase the number of patients it treats by 20 percent, while also increasing its workforce to about 7,000 employees.