MPD, SCS disagree on 'common sense' regarding gun discharge - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

MPD, SCS disagree on 'common sense' regarding gun discharge in school

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Hopson says MPD refuses to respond to schools in the county lines. Hopson says MPD refuses to respond to schools in the county lines.
Police Director Toney Armstrong and Hopson had their first conversation Friday. It took a gun going off at Westside Elementary School for the two to finally talk. Police Director Toney Armstrong and Hopson had their first conversation Friday. It took a gun going off at Westside Elementary School for the two to finally talk.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Schools is pointing fingers at Memphis Police Department about response times at all schools since the merger. This follows an incident where SCS says it took 40 minutes for police to respond after a gun went off inside a Shelby County elementary school Thursday.

"The new protocol as of [Thursday] is to call both law enforcement agencies [Memphis police and Shelby County Sheriff]," said SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson. "I have a concern for the safety of our kids, not necessarily in school but outside of schools. Because of this practices of the position that the MPD has taken ... The phone call was made to the Memphis Police Department in a matter of minutes. There was a report that a gun was in the school. They didn't respond."

Police Director Toney Armstrong and Hopson had their first conversation Friday. It took a gun going off at Westside Elementary School for the two to finally talk.

Armstrong called Friday's news conference after calling Hopson. Armstrong's conference was in response to the conference the superintendent held earlier in the day, which was rather critical of the MPD's response.

In Shelby County Schools' news conference Hopson said:

"I just think that common sense would dictate if you hear about a gun in school, you go out."

Armstrong responded with the below during MPD's news conference:

"I would like to think common sense would tell you that you need to dial 911 and not call security."

Armstrong reiterated that a school district employee initially reported that a BB or cap gun had been found on campus, not that a shot had been fired.

"The Memphis Police Department would have responded had we been given the proper information," said Armstrong.

Hopson says MPD refuses to respond to schools in the county lines. Since the merger, Memphis Police and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office have shared duties when it comes to responding to campus crimes.

"I think it's important for the public to know that the Memphis Police Department has taken a position that sets the schools, who are now county buildings, that they are not going to respond to them," said Hopson.

A temporary protocol was recently put into place.

Armstrong believes Hopson should have picked up the phone before picking on his department.

"To hold a press conference and stand in front of a microphone and a camera and say MPD is not responding to calls properly is irresponsible in my opinion," said Armstrong.

Moving forward, Armstrong hopes all sides will concentrate on what is best for keeping school children safe.

Armstrong says he and Hopson agreed to meet in person in the coming days.

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