New committee to tackle violent crime may be coming to Shelby County

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A new committee is in the works in Shelby County, aiming to tackle violent crime.

Commissioner Mick Wright, who sponsored the idea, said he wanted to take action in response to Eliza Fletcher’s murder and the shooting spree earlier this month.

“Obviously, we have had a couple of really terrible weeks in Memphis. We have been in the national news because of some of the violent crimes we have had,” Wright said. “It was time for the County Commission to step up and take some leadership.”

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Wright said the task force ad hoc committee he wants to create aims to bring commissioners in on the decision-making process and share resources among multiple agencies, including the sheriff’s office and district attorney.

“The county commission needs a way to look at all of those branches, all of those key partners and divisions and bring them all into one forum,” Wright said.

He said rising crime rates in recent years have spanned across and beyond the City of Memphis, leaving residents to question whether any part of Shelby County is safe. For example, investigators said Joe Wilhite murdered his girlfriend in Memphis last week then was involved in a barricade situation in Cordova Thursday that ended with his suicide.

“We have had a couple of very violent years,” Wright said. “The murders are just out of control.”

He hopes the committee will allow local officials to better respond to violent crimes and create legislation that can prevent them in the future.

“Where are the gaps that we have? What needs to be prioritized?,” he said. “It gives us a chance to be proactive on this issue instead of reactive.”

Chairman Mickell Lowery said at the County Commission meeting this week he would create the committee and it will meet on an ad hoc basis.