Governor Lee Announces $100 Million Crime Intervention Fund

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — “Crime is the number one issue, by far, in America, and in Tennessee,” said State Senator Todd Gardenhire.

Governor Bill Lee has launched a one hundred million dollar violent crime intervention fund.

Law enforcement agencies are invited to apply for grants by proposing evidence-based applications of the funding.

“One of the reasons for using grant funds like this is, one, it’s one-time money. The other is that it will require local governments to be actively engaged and apply for the grant, and explain the program that they’re going to be utilizing, so we know we’re spending taxpayer dollars in the best places,” said State Senator Bo Watson.

Some eligible uses of the funding include evidence-based crime intervention models, the hiring and training of specialized violent crime units, and the purchase of technology and equipment that will be used to combat violent crime.

“And I’m really anxious to see if it’s… just how much goes to juvenile crimes, juvenile courts, and those types of institutions. Most of our violent crime is happening with the teenagers and those under 18 years old or right there on that borderline,” said Gardenhire.

According to State Senator Gardenhire, the money will also assist with law enforcement officer retention.

Corrections officers, for example, make around ten thousand dollars less than the average national salary,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Corrections officers — oh, my goodness, I wouldn’t want to do one of those jobs. That’s got to be a tough job, and most of them are in extremely rural communities. And, to attract and keep employees in those communities, it’s going to more than just a pat on the back. It’s got to have some good financial incentives to do what they do,” said Gardenhire.

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