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Memphis Police Department

Memphis Police Department
Abbreviation MPD
Patch of the Memphis Police Department.
Badge of the Memphis Police Department.
Agency overview
Formed 1827
Annual budget $198 million
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Memphis in the state of Tennessee, USA
Legal jurisdiction Memphis, Tennessee
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 201 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
Officers under 2,280 (2014)[1]
Agency executives
  • Toney Armstrong, Director of Police
  • David Martello, Deputy Director
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Memphis Police Department is the law enforcement agency of the City of Memphis, Tennessee.


  • Organization 1
    • Administrative Services 1.1
    • Investigative Services 1.2
    • Uniform Patrol 1.3
    • Rank structure and insignia 1.4
  • History 2
  • Misconduct 3
  • Mission 4
  • Vision 5
  • Demographics 6
  • Popular culture 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The Memphis Police Department (MPD) provides police services to the citizens of Memphis in a 315 square-mile area with 2,450 officers. There are nine precincts in the Memphis area.[2] The Director is appointed by the Memphis Mayor and ratified by the Memphis City Council.[3]

Administrative Services

Provides services that enable the other programs to effectively respond to service calls. It provides security services; warrant, subpoena and property processing; radio and telephone communications; inspection of police services; and management of information and human resources. Additional functions include the reporting and recording of crimes and incidents and personnel development.

Investigative Services

MPD D.U.I. Unit vehicle
  • Domestic Violence Bureau (DV): Handles all assault related incidents involving domestic violence, including Burglary DV.
  • Homicide Bureau: Handles all deaths (homicides, suicides, natural, accidental) regardless of the nature and kidnapping/abductions for ransom.
  • Missing Persons Bureau: Handles all investigations involving the disappearance of all adults and juveniles, including runaways, occurring within the jurisdiction of the Memphis Police Department.
  • Robbery Bureau: Handles all individual robberies (including delivery drivers), purse snatches and extortion/blackmail.
  • Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse Bureau: Handles all sex related offenses, all types of child abuse and neglect, custodial interference, stalking, exhibitionists and peeping toms. It is one bureau with two separate locations and operates different hours.
  • Crimes Against Property Bureau: Handles burglary, vehicle theft, larceny and incidents where property theft is the principal crime involved.
  • Support Units

Uniform Patrol

2007 Memphis Dodge Charger
  • Tillman Station (Central Precinct)
  • South Main Station (Downtown Precinct)
  • Appling Farms Station (Northeast Precinct)
  • Crump Station (West Precinct)
  • Mt. Moriah Station (East Precinct)
  • Old Allen Station (North Precinct)
  • Raines Station (South Precinct)
  • Airways Station (Southeast Precinct)
  • Ridgeway Station
  • Union Station (Traffic Division)

Rank structure and insignia

The Memphis Police Department uses these sworn personnel ranks:
Title Insignia
Deputy Director
Deputy Chief
Lt. Colonel
Police Officer/Detective


The following are historical moments within the Memphis Police Department.[4]

  • 1827: The Memphis Police Department was founded.
  • 1878: The 55 man police department was devastated by the yellow fever epidemic when all 55 officers were stricken, with 10 officers dying as a result.
  • 1927: The city's murder rate was 69.3 per 100,000 population, the highest in the country. In comparison, Chicago, then controlled by Al Capone, had a murder rate of only 13.3 per 100,000.[5]
  • 1933: was captured by MPD officers Thomas Waterson and Sergeant William Raney.
  • 1948: First African-American officers hired.
  • 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, sparking riots and curfews across the city.
  • 1973: The department witnessed the formation of two police unions—the Afro-American Police Association and the Memphis Police Association, a bargaining unit representing patrolmen and sergeants.
  • 1978: The police department went on an eight-day strike in a labor dispute with city leaders.
  • 1988: James Ivy became the city's first African-American police director.
  • 1992: Eddie B. Adair was named first African-American chief of police
  • 1992: Sergeant Jim Nichols, assigned to MPD Research & Development, formed a non-profit organization that raised money to allow the Memphis Police Department to become one of the first law enforcement agencies in Tennessee to utilize computers in a networks systems, where each detective, as well as the executive administration, had a computer on their desk to assist in writing up reports, running background checks, send and receive email as well as other administrative needs relating to law enforcement.


In December 2013, Officer Matthew Ashmore was arrested after child pornography was found on his telephone.[6]

In September 2013, Officer Alex Beard was allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges as a result of reckless behavior. In August 2012, while driving his official vehicle at more than ninety mile per hour without lights or siren, he struck another car, killing a woman and her daughter. Beard was released to report to jail later. He was sentenced to six months in jail and six years on probation but will not serve the entire six months as he is eligible for parole. [7]

In August 2013, Officer Vance Stacks was convicted of drunk driving and weapons charges related to a traffic accident in 2011. [8]

In July 2013, Officer Jason Webb was fired when he was charged with soliciting sex from an underage prostitute.[9]

In June 2013, Officer Brandon Berry was charged with forcing men to have sex with him in exchange for not arresting them on outstanding warrants.[10]

In early July 2014, hundreds of policemen called in sick apparently to protest increased employee contributions to their health care plans. On July 5, 181 called in sick. The following Monday, 308 did not come to work.[11]

In late 2014, press reports indicated that the department had eleven thousand untested rape kits on hand. [12]


"Our purpose is to create and maintain public safety in the City of Memphis. We do so with focused attention on preventing and reducing crime, enforcing the law, and apprehending criminals." [13]


"To create and maintain for the City of Memphis an environment of public safety recognized for its compassion and responsiveness to the needs, rights and expectations of all citizens, employees and visitors."[13]


The following is the breakdown of the rank and file of the MPD.[14]

Distribution by race

  • African American/Black: 52%
  • White: 47%
  • Hispanic: 1%

Distribution by gender

  • Male: 81%
  • Female: 19%

Popular culture

The Investigative Services bureau is often featured in the A&E reality television series The First 48.

The department's women of the Uniform Patrol division is also featured in the TLC reality television series Police Women of Memphis.

A fictional version of their General Assignment Bureau, is the setting for the TNT drama Memphis Beat.

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Mayor taps Toney Armstrong as next Memphis Police Department director
  4. ^ "Memphis Police Department History". Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  5. ^ One Summer; America 1927, by Bill Bryson, Doubleday 2013, Kindle Location 6257
  6. ^ Memphis officer held over child porn on phone, police say, by ArkansasOnline, 27 December 2013
  7. ^ Family devastated by former MPD officer's plea deal, by Nick Kenney, 11 September 2013, WMC-TV
  8. ^ Former Memphis police officer convicted on DUI, gun charges, by Lawrence Buser, The Commercial Appeal, 12 August 2013
  9. ^ Police Officer Charged With Soliciting A Minor Has Long List Of Troubles, by April Thompson, 15 July 2013,
  10. ^ Former officer charged with forcing fugitives to perform sexual acts, by Jason Miles, 21 June 2013, WMC-TV
  11. ^ 308 Tennessee police officers call in sick in apparent protest, by the Associated Press, 7 July 2014
  12. ^ New York Initiative to help Other Cities Clear Rape-Kit Backlogs; by Tatinana Scholossberg, 14 November 2014, New York Times
  13. ^ a b "Memphis 2008 Annual Report - Page B" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  14. ^ "Memphis Police Department At a Glance". 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 

External links

  • Official website

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