Memphis council approves city's first female police chief

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — City councilors in Memphis, Tennessee, have approved the hiring of C.J. Davis, the first woman to lead the city's police department.

The City Council voted Tuesday to appoint Davis as chief of the Memphis Police Department. Davis replaces Michael Rallings, who is retiring. She starts the job on June 14.

A former member of the police department in Atlanta, Davis had served as police chief in Durham, North Carolina, since 2016. Davis was the selection of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, who said she stood out due to her leadership experience in Atlanta and Durham.

Davis takes over leadership of a Memphis police force that saw a record number of homicides last year, with more than 320. Memphis is on pace to approach that total this year.

Davis leaves Durham as the city is coming off a record year for gun violence. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports statistics show 318 people were shot in Durham in 2020, a nearly 70% increase over the 189 people shot in 2019, and the most since at least 2016, when the department began tracking the data.

Durham has appointed an interim police chief during the search for Davis' replacement.