Gov. Lee Touts Violent Crime Intervention Fund on Fox News

As part of a wave of new crime prevention and response strategies in Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee (R) joined Fox News to tout his new Violent Crime Intervention Fund.

“We have a crime problem in this country, there’s no doubt about it, and Tennessee hasn’t escaped that problem,” Lee told former host and former U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy on the channel’s Sunday Night in America.

“It’s an unprecedented time, so we’ve got to take unprecedented steps,” said Lee. “I’m a strong believer that law enforcement is that thin line between order and chaos, and in Tennessee we want to give them the resources and the respect that they deserve. So, we put a significant amount of energy and funding into the recruitment of law enforcement officials from all over the country – from states that maybe don’t respect them and don’t support them – but we do here. So we’re recruiting them, but we’re also providing the resources they need.”

Lee explained that the state put $100 million into the violent crime intervention grant fund, which is meant to help local law enforcement entities to address crime in their communities.

“People deserve to live in a safe neighborhood, [and] we have to make certain that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that happens, and we’re doing that here in this state,” said Lee.

Lee’s office specifically spelled out the purpose of the funding in a release shortly after the announcement of the grant program.

“Eligible uses of funding include evidence-based crime intervention models, hiring and training of specialized violent crime units, purchase and application of technology and equipment, and law enforcement-led partnerships with community organizations to disrupt and prevent violent crime,” the statement said earlier this month.

News of the new program came on the heels of a high-profile alleged kidnapping and murder of a Memphis mother called Eliza Fletcher.

Fletcher was allegedly kidnapped and killed by a man called Cleotha Abston while jogging in September.

While police were searching for Fletcher, Abston’s DNA was found in a rape kit that had been sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) nearly a year prior. He is facing separate charges for allegedly raping a Memphis woman called Alicia Franklin.

But the news of the slow turnaround time for processing the rape kit, which some said would have seen Abston behind bars and unable to commit the Fletcher crime had it been processed sooner, led to the state announcing that it would hire 25 new TBI forensic analysts to address the backlog.

That effort was also spearheaded by Lee.

“Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Speaker Cameron Sexton announced a decisive step to accelerate the hiring process for 25 additional forensic lab positions at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI),” Lee’s office said earlier this month. “Taking this action ahead of the regular budget process will expedite the TBI’s efforts to expand testing capacity and reduce the turnaround time for sexual assault kits (SAKs).”

Applications for those positions were opened shortly thereafter.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bill Lee” by Gov. Bill Lee.


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6 Thoughts to “Gov. Lee Touts Violent Crime Intervention Fund on Fox News”

  1. Cannoneer2

    Typical of Tennessee state government, and it has been that way for decades now. It is fine for things to run on a financial shoestring, at near dysfunctional levels until that dysfunction negatively impacts Important People (in this case, a billionaire heiress). The days of “Well, if they just cut the budget…” as Marsha Blackburn was so fond of saying, may be over. State government may actually have to function, not just for the Important People, and agencies other than the General Assembly may have to be properly funded.

  2. Dwayne Oxford

    Until immediate EFFECTIVE punishments are restored, no amount of funding will accomplish crime reduction.
    Our catch, milk taxpayers and release criminal coddling “justice” system is a FARCE!!
    Vote John Gentry!!

  3. LM

    Governor Lee seems to have quite a history of sympathy for inmates , and their “rehabilitation”. It would be interesting – and probably telling- to know exactly what ” intervention resources” he is supposedly spending a hundred million dollars on to help out law enforcement. I’ll bet his idea of intervention amounts to more rehab and probation crap. Hire more officers, PAY them, and TRAIN them! They do not make enough money, and they do not get enough training to help them. And I wonder how many requests for more TBI lab techs were rejected before the whole Abston stink went public. Now , suddenly, they need 25 more? Funny how that was never a priority before.

  4. Betty Lynn Duley

    I will say that I still think Randy Boyd would have been worse; but Lee is a huge disappointment. His addition of Schwinn to our education system has been almost catastrophic. Providing housing, or knowing about it, for illegals in Chattanooga; not immediately standing against Davidson County when they took money budgeted for MNPD; not standing against forced shots, etc does not look like strong on law enforcement to me. The way he kept trying to address it as a national problem rather than simply dealing with what he is responsible for addressing speaks volumes.

  5. Carol F White

    I’ve heard all of this protect yourself. Carry a fire amr you have trained with. Practice situalal awarnes. Shoot puncks before they can shoot you. I am comfortable with this.

  6. 83ragtop50

    He makes me sick to my stomach.