Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich announced a new geographically based approach to prosecuting criminals during a community meeting at the Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser.
Weirich wants to keep prosecutors and judges consistent within certain areas of Memphis, so they are able to gain a better understanding of the community they serve.
“The goals I envision include shifting a focus of crime prevention and intervention to the communities where the crimes are occurring,” said Weirich. “Prosecutors with background knowledge of a community, established partnerships in the community and the trust of the community will bring better results for the community.”
The program will begin on January 3, with Assistant District Attorney Carrie Shelton's assignment to the Memphis Police Department's Old Allen Precinct in Frayser, where the surrounding area is under the Shelby County Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction. Shelton's assignment will be supported by a team of prosecutors, victim-witness coordinators, and support staff at 201 Poplar that will oversee every arrest made in the area surrounding the Old Allen Precinct.
“We chose this Frayser-Raleigh area because of its high crime rates and because the area is home to diverse, grassroots community organizations that are working daily to bring a better way of life to this area,” said Weirich. “The community prosecutor will be building relationships with law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, schools, businesses and other community-based organizations.”
Weirich also said a similar plan is in the works for the MPD Tillman Station Precinct and its surrounding area.
The plan to keep prosecutors and judges consistent in high-crime areas is one of 16 objectives under a Operation: Safe Community, a comprehensive five year plan announced by the Shelby County Crime Commission last month.
The SCCC's plan also calls for increased trust through community policing and more interaction between law enforcement and the public.
The announced objectives for increasing trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve occurred right as the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing is beginning what could be a two year review of MPD's community policing and use of deadly force policies.