Attention gang leaders and violent offenders: Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is coming for you. And children living in poverty, help is on the way.
Strickland promised in his inaugural address Friday that he will soon deliver his legislative agenda (basically, a list of his top priorities). He more than hinted at several of the agenda items during his address Friday, laying out definite plans to combat crime and poverty.
"Let this be crystal clear," Strickland said. "It is a new day in Memphis."
• "We will focus like a laser beam on trying to retain and recruit top quality police officers and firefighters to Memphis."
• Strickland will soon announce a new partnership with the state of Tennessee "to remove gang leaders form our streets."
• On Monday, he'll introduce a legislative package that gives an "enhanced" sentences for repeat violent offenders.
• He'll introduce new rules to give law enforcement immediate orders of protection for victims of domestic violence.
Strickland introduced his public safety agenda with these words:
"Last year, 2015, 1,296 children in Memphis were shot, shot at, or threatened with a weapon. Let me repeat that because it's a staggering figure. Last year 1,296 children in Memphis were shot, shot at, or threatened with a weapon.
"This is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that we let violence get to this point."
• Expand early childhood programs.
• Give greater access to parks, libraries, and community centers.
• Expand youth and jobs programs.
Strickland introduced his poverty agenda with these words:
"We must recognize ours is a city rife with inequality. It is our moral obligation as children of God to lift up the poorest among us.
"Every day families across the world turn to St. Jude hospital. I'll use them as an example. They are hospital known for hope. They are named for lost causes. They are a blessing to millions of children and we are forever grateful for that they do.
"But in the recesses of our minds, we know half of all children in Memphis are growing up in poverty. Let it be known in the eye of this mayor and this administration, they are not a lost cause."