Toney Armstrong says, "Someone has to make a difference, so it might as well be me." He is also proud of the fact that the Memphis Homicide Department solves 84% of their cases. "We take pride in what we do. Pride is our solve rate."
Armstrong is single, with no children and no pets. He is an avid football fan and loves the Dallas Cowboys.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
"The First 48" became the final 48 Tuesday for those who like to watch Memphis homicide detectives in action.
Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin decided Tuesday that he would stand by his earlier decision not to renew a contract with the popular A&E police documentary show that follows homicide detectives during the first 48 hours after a crime is reported. The final case shot in Memphis aired Tuesday night.
The show, which began taping in Memphis in 2005, spotlighted 38 homicide investigations here. Godwin, who hears comments about the show wherever he goes, said it brought international attention to the efficiency of the Memphis Police Department's homicide division.
Several local officials objected to the show documenting violent crimes and non-adjudicated cases in Memphis. City Councilman Wanda Halbert told Godwin earlier this year that the show exposes the worst aspects of the city to the world.
Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons sent Godwin a letter on July 24 that said the show violates Tennessee Supreme Court rules by allowing detectives and others involved in the case to comment publicly about evidence or investigations of pending cases.
Godwin suspended taping of the show earlier this year but said he might reconsider allowing the crews to return after a reorganization of the homicide department.
Several high profile cases from Memphis were featured on the show, including an hour-long episode devoted solely to the vicious murders of four adults and two children on Lester Street.
Last week, the show featured the shooting death of University of Memphis football player Taylor Bradford.
Godwin said while the show has brought positive publicity to his department, it's also been disruptive. His commanders felt like it caused unnecessary distractions and interfered with police investigations, he said.
"It's been a great experience working with the MPD," said John Kim, executive producer of "The First 48." "I have nothing but great things to say."
Gibbons said his prosecutors had to deal with numerous unnecessary pretrial and trial issues as a direct result of the show.
Some prosecutors in other cities where the show is taped said they haven't had problems in the courts as a result of the program, while others have.
Bill Ranaghan, chief asst. prosecutor for Hamilton County, Ohio, said he advised the Cincinnati police department not to allow the show to follow detectives there
"Certain things that come out can jeopardize a case," Ranaghan said. "I don't like the idea at all, but it was a good PR ploy for them. It was against our better wishes. I believe the police can do a better job without a television camera over their shoulder."
-- Cindy Wolff: 901-529-2378