CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

"Scorpion Unit Emerged as Memphis Police Pursued Get-Tough Strategy"

From The New York Times:

Chief Cerelyn Davis of the Memphis Police had been on the job for only a few months in 2021 when she saw that homicide numbers were rising toward a record. Near her new home downtown, drivers were buzzing wildly through the streets, often late at night. She had a plan to confront the mayhem.

For reckless drivers, she told her team, officers were to focus less on writing tickets and more on an all-out strategy of seizing cars from the most dangerous drivers. Violent offenders needed to be targeted with new urgency. If the state could not take a case to court, she determined, her agency should ask federal prosecutors to take the case instead.

. . . 

Two days later, Chief Davis, the first African American woman to lead the department, launched her most ambitious strategy: a new police unit named Scorpion — or Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods — would deploy some 40 officers as a strike team in some of the most volatile corners of the city.

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