The Delta hub of West Memphis has officially sworn in Mayor Marco McClendon. The mayor is the youngest in the Mississippi River town’s history, and its first African-American to lead the city government.
“I plan on working with everyone in my community no matter what color you are,” McClendon said.
McClendon said he wants to create a land bank in West Memphis, focusing on the city’s blight and abandoned properties, adding jobs, and lowering the crime rate.
High-profile violent crimes such as the murders of 15-year-old Jordyne Craig and off-duty officer Oliver Johnson left the city searching for answers. McClendon and his new police chief E.C. West said the answers can be found in community policing.
“It won’t be a lot of changes in programs, we’re just going to be promoting them more,” Chief West said.
Those things include anti-gang initiatives and teaching conflict resolution. The mayor also plans to do more than implementing policy by actually hitting the streets and speaking with gang leaders personally.
“Right here in West Memphis, I’m in a unique position as the first black mayor in some time to go in some of these poverty-stricken neighborhoods and challenge my community and talk to some of the young me that are doing some of this violent behavior,” McClendon said.