Carol Chumney objects to a story that ran this morning describing where mayoral candidates stand when it comes to Memphis Police Department director Larry Godwin and the department's intense data-driven Operation Blue Crush initiative it says has reduced crime by 17 percent since 2006.
We put Chumney into the category of those "opposed" to Godwin, but Chumney points out she has been very careful to never voice a specific opinion on whether Godwin should be retained or replaced. While Godwin and Chumney have waged more than a few wars of words going back to her time as City Councilwoman and 2007 mayoral candidate, Chumney also says she has never said whether she would continue pursuing the Blue Crush strategy.
Though she has called for management changes with MPD, she emphatically states that "Larry Godwin can put his resume on my desk just like anybody else."
On Blue Crush, she said she would evaluate it with the police director she does hire.
Godwin clearly believes Chumney would not retain him, and minces no words in firing back at her consistent criticisms that "crime is out of control."
At the WMC-TV Channel 5 debate in August, Chumney said: "Clearly the department is not managed properly and I will make sure it is managed properly."
In that debate, she also said that Memphis was ranked second in the nation in crime, referring to rankings compiled by CQ Press based upon 2007 crime numbers cities across the nation provided to the FBI.
In fact, those rankings refer to the eight-county Memphis metropolitan statistical area, and FBI considers such rankings invalid because of the many differences in how cities report and track crime. New York, for instance, admits it does not report as crime to the FBI larceny thefts of less than $1,000, while a recent Memphis crime report involved the theft of 10 rolls of pennies.
"They lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents," the FBI says on its Website.
Godwin does not hide his disdain for Chumney, who was very critical about a Downtown incident on the Fourth of July involving what she said were "100 teenagers roaming and unsupervised" and throwing fireworks into crowds.
"She really does not have a clue about what we do," Godwin said Monday.
Chumney said she plans to call Godwin "to make sure he is aware of my position."