MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The group battling against too many secrets had their first meeting behind closed doors. The three member consultant team for the Memphis Police was named just a few weeks ago by Mayor A C Wharton. You folks pay them. They can meet privately, however, because they are not elected officials.
Two members are retired cops, and the third is a local minister. He’s Pastor Keith Norman, and he wants to set the record straight. “We are not the police force,” Pastor Norman says. “We are simply going to be reviewing policies.”
Ok. They won’t be pulling over speeders. They won’t be handing out parking tickets. They won’t be battling bad guys. They will be looking at what happens to bad cops, looking at Memphis Police policies, and recommending any changes they think are needed. “We have met,” Norman says, “and we are beginning to work out a strategy for the things we need to do. Not just the deadlines, but to think positively about the future.”
There are specific deadlines for the group over the next year. It’s something that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton talked about when he announced the consultants. He wanted them to get to work fast, because Memphis cops have had quite a few black eyes this year.
Bad cops have dominated the news. All of those shiners take a little of the glimmer off the badges of the good officers in Memphis. So look for the consultants to be talking, and explaining how important it is to talk to you folks. “I think that’s one thing the community wants more of,” Norman says. “They want to know what’s happening, what kind of responses they can expect. They want to see a little more transparency. But we also want to make sure we don’t break or violate any policies that are already ingrained and need to be adhered to.”
Rev. Norman is the only civilian member of the consultant trio. The other two are retired Memphis Police officers. Norman has his critics too. Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says Norman, who is the former head of the Shelby County Democratic Party, is nothing more than a political crony of the mayor. “I am definitely not a politician, “Norman says. “I am a pastor. I am a concerned community leader. The police force has to interact with the community.”