New Murfreesboro police chief says he plans to listen to community

Photo: WKRN

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Murfreesboro is the one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and its new police chief said with growth comes more crime.

He’s hoping by strengthening community policing the city will be prepared for what’s to come.

It’s only his third day on the job but the new Murfreesboro police chief Karl Durr took to the airwaves on WGNS Radio Wednesday morning.

“It’s a really good police department and I’m lucky to be given the key to this,” Durr said.

He has some big shoes to fill.

“Glenn Chrisman was a gentlemen and a great police chief,” said radio host Bart Walker.

Durr will head a police department in a city that’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Even though the crime rate in Murfreesboro is the lowest the city has seen in 5 years, Durr knows it could increase.

“We have to be careful with that also comes increased crime so we can’t become complacent with the status quo,” Durr said. “So again keep pushing ahead and say how we can do things better and how can we do things safer?”

Callers who phoned into the Good Neighbor Talk program were not too tough on the chief; many loaded up the welcome wagon.

“Want to welcome the new chief to town,” Murfreesboro City Schools Board President Butch Campbell said.

There was only one complaint about the police department not providing funeral escort for a funeral Tuesday.
“They didn’t have a police escort to escort the funeral processional to the cemetery; what’s the problem with that,” a caller asked.

MPD provides courtesy funeral escort when officers are available.

Durr hopes to improve technology within the department and make the workflow easier for officers.

“Then that get them more time out in the streets and more time out in the community,” the new chief said.

Thursday, the city council will decide whether to renew the red light camera agreement.

The new chief weighed in.

“We use technology where it is applicable; and as long as we are not encroaching on people’s rights to privacy and stuff,” the Chief said. “I think we use technology as long as it has an objective. I think looking at the red lights cameras the purpose of those is to reduce traffic crashes and save people’s lives.”

There have been several police-involved shootings across the country, but Murfreesboro SWAT team and officers have shown great restrain when dealing with suspects; something the chief applauds.

“If we have an officer involved shooting, there is an impact on the community, but there also an impact within the police department, that officer and the officer’s family,” Durr said. “I’ve been involved in officer involved shootings there’re very traumatic, that’s the last course of action that we want.”

Two days before his first interview, the chief came to Murfreesboro and walked the streets, talking to people of all ages, from college students to the elderly, to find out what are their concerns in the Boro.

“Part of me is listening to the community, because when you don’t understand what the community is then that relationship is broken,” he said. “The questions I would ask them are, you know, what problems do you see here, do we have diversity issues, do we have any type of things.”

Walker asked Durr if he has had the opportunity to tour the hollow shell of the new police headquarters on Highland Street.

“It has been a full two days, so we just did a drive-by,” Durr said while laughing.

Chief Durr has 32 years of law enforcement experience.

He worked his way through the ranks of the Palm Beach Florida Sheriff’s Department as was an assistant chief in Eugene Oregon.

“Law enforcement out there is different.” Durr said of Eugene, Oregon. “They were very vocal about their rights, they were vocal about some passionate things they embraced, and I think one of the things I learn, a key skill, is listen hard what the community has to say and understand what they say and be able to address that.”
The chief said he wanted the job in Murfreesboro because of the quality of life, and the educational system.

He has a wife and two boys, ages 8 and 12.

But there’s another reason he chose Tennessee.

“Marcus Mariota right? Yes, I’m following in his footsteps,” Durr said. That’s what they blame me back in Eugene [Oregon], that I was such a fan I followed him out here.”

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