MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - From finding dirty cops on the force to dealing with a fallen officer, Toney Armstrong's first year as Memphis Police Director has been eventful.
It was April 15, 2011 when Armstrong, with his wife and daughter at his side, took the oath to protect Memphis as the top cop.
It was a job he knew would be demanding, but within just a few months he had his first major trial when officer Timothy Warren was gunned down inside a downtown hotel over the 4th of July weekend.
"That's tough from a director standpoint to try to get everybody to remain focused and also allow people to heal and grieve," Armstrong said, "But we are police officers and we have to go back and do the same thing that we did the day prior to the officer losing his life."
Then there was the long string of bad cops that ended up on the wrong side of the law. Most memorable was Sgt. Norman Benjamin, who lied about who shot him Labor Day weekend.
The director notes the department has 2,400 officers, which is the size of some small towns.
"You're going to have problems, people that run afoul of the law; this police department is no exception. It's made up of human beings who sometimes make bad decisions. We'll take whatever corrective action we need to take to make sure they come back in compliance or if it's discovered they're not fit to be police officers we'll take that action too."
Despite the losses, Armstrong says the department has made tremendous growth.
"Establishing relationships with community, I've been received really well with the community and I'm really so thankful for that," he said. "Two is community policing, getting the community outreach program off the ground. If you look at some of the areas were in, its been well received by the citizens and given time it will gain momentum… and I think you're going to see a tremendous difference in those communities."
This year he'd like to have another recruiting class of officers and see growth in community outreach, but he says, "The biggest thing is every officer I start with this year, they'll be here next year. Keep everybody safe and everybody home to their family safe."
Armstrong says the position has been more challenging than he thought, but won't call it overwhelming.
He says he hopes to stay top cop as long as he's beneficial for the department and the city he's charged to protect.