Former Durham police chief CJ Davis takes over as chief of Memphis police

Around the South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG/WNCN) — A new era at the Memphis Police Department begins as Cerelyn “CJ” Davis takes the helm.

Davis becomes the first woman to ever lead MPD and the first outsider to lead the department since the 1970’s. She inherits a much bigger police department than the one she left in Durham. Memphis has nearly four times as many officers and there is much more violent crime.

Last year Durham reported 37 homicides while Memphis had more than 330.

Davis said tackling violent crime will be her top priority.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said she has the experience, compassion and vision to improve MPD.

A former member of the police department in Atlanta, Davis had served as police chief in Durham since 2016. Davis was the selection of Strickland, who said she stood out due to her leadership experience in Atlanta and Durham.

Davis takes over leadership of a Memphis police force that saw a record number of homicides last year, with more than 320. Memphis is on pace to approach that total this year.

The year 2020 was a record for the city of Durham as there were 966 shooting incidents, 318 people were shot.

The latest data CBS 17 has been able to obtain from police shows that 89 percent of the shootings in 2020 were unsolved.

Back in April, Durham police revealed that 85 percent of the shootings in 2021 had gone unsolved.

Durham has appointed an interim police chief during the search for Davis’ replacement.

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