Called Operation Comeback 2, the call-in meeting will be at 6 p.m. next Tuesday at 600 Jefferson, formerly the Urban Child Institute and now called Methodist Le Bonheur Community Outreach.
The call-in will involve about 10 selected offenders receiving face-to-face warnings from law enforcement and community leaders that continued criminal behavior will be dealt with swiftly and severely.
A second message, this one offering help, will come from community-based service providers who focus on issues such as housing, education, employment, substance-abuse treatment and job training.
The 10 carefully selected violent offenders have victimized a total of 108 people, have been convicted of 97 felony and misdemeanor offenses, and have been crime victims themselves 36 times. All are on probation or parole and are required to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Operation Comeback uses the focused deterrence approach of support and accountability that has been used successfully in other cities and is part of the Operation: Safe Community-3 (OSC-3) five-year plan to reduce violent crime in Memphis and Shelby County. Gen. Weirich is the chair of OSC-3.
The program recognizes that a relatively small number of offenders commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the communities where they live.
“The message is that we want the violence to stop and we want to help them succeed,” said Gen. Weirich. “This is a program that can be good for them and good for the community.”
In February, the first Operation Comeback call-in was held with a group of about a dozen offenders who were told future offenses would result in maximum sentencing, but also that help was immediately available if they wanted to change their criminal lifestyles.
At a “reunion” of those offenders this summer, nine members of that group told officials that their lives had improved over the previous six months. Case officers said the men are attending classes, holding jobs, receiving counseling, learning life skills and avoiding new arrests.
The program, which has met with success in several other cities, also includes the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the DEA, the ATF, the U.S. Attorney, and the Tennessee Department of Correction.
The social service providers include MSCOR, the Workforce Investment Network (WIN), HopeWorks, Memphis Housing and Community Development, Memphis Housing Authority, Lifeline to Success, and the Memphis Christian Pastors Network.
The media are invited, but photographers are asked not to show faces of the offenders.