MPD director: Fixing TACT unit problems will cost more money - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD director: Fixing TACT unit problems will cost more money

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis Police Director says the department's TACT Unit is understaffed, under-funded and the equipment is out of date. With the TACT unit back up and running, is it really prepared to keep the city safe?

The answer: yes and no.

When Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong reinstated the unit Monday, he said the unit is reorganized and ready. He also said they need double the staff to protect a city this size.

He says an October standoff that ended with the death of a suspect in a burning house should serve as a wake up call for metro Memphis.

"We lack appropriate staff to cover all sit positions and we have improper and outdated equipment," said Armstrong.

Armstrong says officers accidentally used outdoor gas rounds that resembled indoor gas rounds during the fatal standoff with Aaron Dumas.

Bronze Star recipient Major Sam Hines is the new commander for the TACT Unit.

"We've reorganized this completely," said Hines. "What we've done is put in a better accountability system."

Armstrong says Hines has made all the changes the department can make without additional funding. He implemented a new ammunition inventory system. He is requiring outdated equipment only be used for training. He set up new crime scene management controls, and designated an equipment officer to dispense materials.

Most importantly, everything must now be labeled.

With internal changes in place, Armstrong says he must now increase staff

"Last year when we went to council, we had recruit classes scheduled for this year, but we had to forego those classes to meet our budgetary requirements. This is what happens," said Director Armstrong.

Armstrong says specialized units like TACT and Organized Crime take the hit when recruiting is suspended.

Uniform Patrol is the primary focus because they answer the mass service calls.

"It's going to cost more money," said Armstrong. "You're talking about more equipment, better equipment, better training."

The causes of the fire and Dumas' death are undetermined. Three supervisors on the scene were reassigned. The department will follow-up with mandatory quarterly meetings.

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