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Fly on the Wall

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Half-Baked

Last week, Memphis' ABC station, My Eyewitness News 24, "uncover[ed] controversy surrounding two new crime laws in Tennessee" that, astonishingly enough, leave citizens just as safe as they were before the laws were passed. First, there's the revolting-sounding Johnia Berry Act, which requires a DNA sample taken from everyone in Tennessee arrested on felony charges, but which won't become effective until the state legislature finds money to fund the program.

My Eyewitness News also lamented that the high-profile "Crooks With Guns Act," which requires more jail time for those who commit gun crimes, doesn't require criminals to do enough time. Shelby County sheriff Mark Luttrell commented on the laws, saying, "I like to look at the glass as being half full, and in this we got a glass that maybe wasn't half full last year but at least we got a glass that had some content to it."

Smart Cop/Dumb Cop

Faced with an apparent shortage of new recruits, the Memphis Police Department is following Nashville and eliminating its requirement that prospective officers have at least two years' worth of college credits under their big, scary gun belts.

"The big fence was the college requirement and we're knocking down that wall," department spokesman Sgt. Vincent Higgins told The Commercial Appeal, explaining that the new regulation may help the MPD recruit experienced officers from smaller departments that have never required employees to have a college education.

Another advantage to knocking down that fence and/or wall is that less educated officers may have an easier time understanding Sheriff Luttrell's glass metaphors.

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