Memphis Police Department

The Memphis Police Department is the law enforcement agency of the city of Memphis, Tennessee, United States.

Memphis Police Department
TN - Memphis Police.jpg
Agency overview
Employees2,605 (2020)
Annual budget$273 million (2020)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionMemphis, Tennessee, United States
Shelby County Tennessee Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Memphis Highlighted 4748000.svg
Jurisdiction of the Memphis Police Department
Population650,632 (2018)
Legal jurisdictionMemphis, Tennessee
Governing bodyMemphis City Council
Constituting instrument
  • yes
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters170 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38103
Officers2,142 (Dec 2014)
Agency executives
  • Administrative Services
  • Investigative Services
  • Special Operations
  • Uniform Patrol
  • Tillman Station (Central Precinct)
  • North Main Station (Downtown Precinct)
  • Appling Farms Station (Northeast Precinct)
  • Crump Station (West Precinct)
  • Mt. Moriah Station (East Precinct)
  • Austin Peay Station (North Precinct/Austin Peay Hwy)
  • Raines Station (South Precinct)
  • Airways Station (Southeast Precinct)
  • Ridgeway Station


The Memphis Police Department (MPD) provides police services to the people of the city of Memphis in a 304 square-mile area with 2,081 officers. There are nine precincts in the Memphis area.[2][3] The Chief of Police is appointed by the mayor and ratified by the city council.[4]

Officers are issued the SIG Sauer P229R DAK .40 S&W as the sidearm of choice.

Administrative ServicesEdit

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 ServicesEdit

MPD D.U.I. Unit vehicle
  • Domestic Violence Bureau (DV):Domestic Violence Bureau Handles all assault related incidents involving domestic violence, including Burglary DV.
  • Homicide Bureau:Homicide Bureau Handles all deaths (homicides, suicides, natural, accidental) regardless of the nature and kidnapping/abductions for ransom.
  • Missing Persons Bureau: 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.
  • Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse Bureau:Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse Bureau Handles all sex related offenses, all types of child abuse and neglect, stalking, exhibitionists and peeping toms. It is one bureau with two separate locations and operates different hours.
  • General Investigative Bureau: Handles burglary, Robbery, Assaults, vehicle theft, larceny and incidents where property theft is the principal crime involved.
  • Felony Response Bureau: This is an After-hours investigative bureau with two shifts (4p-12a and 12a-8a).
  • Support Units

Uniform PatrolEdit

2007 Memphis Dodge Charger
  • Tillman Station (Central Precinct)
  • North 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 insigniaEdit

The Memphis Police Department uses these ranks:

Title Insignia
Chief of Police
Assistant Chief of Police *
Deputy Chief
Lieutenant Colonel
PIIP/PII/Detective No Rank Insignia

Assistant Chief insignia is 4 stars arranged in a diamond pattern.


The following are historical moments within the Memphis Police Department.[5]

  • 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.[6]
  • 1933: George "Machine Gun" Kelly was captured by MPD officers Thomas Waterson and Sergeant William Raney.
  • 1948: First African-American officers hired.
  • 1968: Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 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.
  • 2017: New Police Headquarters at 170 North Main Street, Memphis TN
  • 2021: First female African-American chief of police in Memphis


In December 2013, Officer Matthew Ashmore was arrested after child pornography was found on his telephone.[7]

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 miles an hour without lights or siren, he struck another car, killing a woman and her daughter. Beard was sentenced to six months in jail and six years on probation, but will not serve the entire six months, since he is eligible for parole.[8]

In August 2013, Officer Vance Stacks was convicted of drunk driving and weapons charges related to a traffic accident in 2011.[9]

In July 2013, Officer Jason Webb was fired when he was charged with soliciting sex from an underage prostitute.[10]

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.[11]

In early July 2014, hundreds of policemen called in sick apparently to protest the city reducing pay by 4.6% while giving millions to private entities. On July 5, 181 called in sick. The following Monday, 550 did not come to work.[12]

In late 2014, press reports indicated that the department had eleven thousand untested rape kits on hand.[13]

In 2018, MPD was sued by the ACLU of Tennessee for violating a 1978 decree by surveilling on citizens for political purposes. White MPD Sergeant Timothy Reynolds admitted in the trial that he pretended to be a black man named "Bob Smith" on Facebook to spy on activists participating in the Black Lives Matter movement, one of them being journalist and founder of MLK50 Wendi C. Thomas. Judge Jon Phipps McCalla ruled that MPD was guilty of violating the decree.[14][15]

In late 2020, retired MPD homicide investigator Eric Kelly was charged with having a sexual relationship with a murder suspect.[16]


"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."[17]


"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."[17]


The following is the breakdown of the rank and file of the MPD.[18]

Distribution by race

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

Distribution by gender

  • Male: 84%
  • Female: 16%

Popular cultureEdit

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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sullivan, Carl; Baranauckas, Carla (June 26, 2020). "Here's how much money goes to police departments in largest cities across the U.S." USA Today. Archived from the original on July 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "City of Memphis Police Department". Accessed September 4, 2020.
  3. ^ [1] " MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT STAFFING: WHERE DO WE STAND?"]. Accessed September 4, 2020
  4. ^ Taylor, Eryn. "City of Memphis releases names of police director candidates". July 15, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2016.
  5. ^ "Memphis Police Department History". Archived from the original on 2012-01-17. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  6. ^ One Summer; America 1927, by Bill Bryson, Doubleday 2013, Kindle Location 6257
  7. ^ Memphis officer held over child porn on phone, police say, by ArkansasOnline, 27 December 2013
  8. ^ Family devastated by former MPD officer's plea deal, by Nick Kenney, 11 September 2013, WMC-TV
  9. ^ Former Memphis police officer convicted on DUI, gun charges, by Lawrence Buser, The Commercial Appeal, 12 August 2013
  10. ^ Police Officer Charged With Soliciting A Minor Has Long List Of Troubles, by April Thompson, 15 July 2013,
  11. ^ Former officer charged with forcing fugitives to perform sexual acts, by Jason Miles, 21 June 2013, WMC-TV
  12. ^ 308 Tennessee police officers call in sick in apparent protest, by the Associated Press, 7 July 2014
  13. ^ New York Initiative to help Other Cities Clear Rape-Kit Backlogs; by Tatinana Scholossberg, 14 November 2014, New York Times
  14. ^ Watts, Micaela A. "Federal court monitor says MPD is complying with sanctions on surveillance tactics". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  15. ^ Thomas, Wendi C.; Journalism, MLK50: Justice Through. "The Police Have Been Spying on Black Reporters and Activists for Years. I Know Because I'm One of Them". ProPublica. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  16. ^ "Embattled former Memphis police homicide investigator Eric Kelly faces criminal charges". Accessed September 4, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Memphis 2008 Annual Report - Page B" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  18. ^ "Memphis Police Department At a Glance". 2011-02-11. Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-01-29.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 35°08′59″N 90°03′02″W / 35.1496°N 90.0505°W / 35.1496; -90.0505