Chattanooga Police Department to apply for $1.6 million state grant for equipment, software

Staff Photo by Tierra Hayes / The Chattanooga Police Department investigates June 5 near the 2100 block of McCallie Avenue following a shooting. The department wants to apply for a state grant of about $1.6 million, with the funds to be used to purchase equipment to help in the prevention of violent crime.
Staff Photo by Tierra Hayes / The Chattanooga Police Department investigates June 5 near the 2100 block of McCallie Avenue following a shooting. The department wants to apply for a state grant of about $1.6 million, with the funds to be used to purchase equipment to help in the prevention of violent crime.

The Chattanooga Police Department plans to apply for a more than $1.6 million grant from the state, which would come from a pot of funding Gov. Bill Lee recently established to curtail violent crime and strengthen public safety in Tennessee.

The Chattanooga City Council will vote on authorizing the department's application during its meeting Tuesday. The resolution says the grant would fund the purchase of "software and equipment for law enforcement and proven crime prevention."

Asked for more details, department spokeswoman Sydney Hamon said in an email Monday that the office is writing the grant application.

"The state has not approved anything yet, so we will not be going into too much detail until everything is finalized," she said. "Look for more information after the application is submitted and the state awards the money."

The governor's office announced in October that it was creating a $100 million violent crime intervention fund and invited local law enforcement agencies in Tennessee to apply. The funding was included in the state's fiscal year 2023 budget.

  photo  Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy speaks Oct. 21 during a block party on East 11th Street. Murphy's department is seeking a grant of about $1.6 million that would fund the purchase of "software and equipment for law enforcement and proven crime prevention,” according to a resolution the City Council will vote on Tuesday.
 
 

According to a news release, law enforcement agencies can use the money for evidence-based crime intervention models, hiring and training of specialized violence crime units, the purchase of technology and equipment and law enforcement-led partnerships with community organizations. Law enforcement organizations can apply for grant funding through January, the release said.

(READ MORE: Reports of most crimes down in Chattanooga in 2022, but not all)

"As Americans face rising crime nationwide, Tennessee is equipping law enforcement with the tools needed to keep every community safe," Lee said in the October release.

"Unprecedented times call for unprecedented support," Lee said. "I invite all police departments and sheriff's offices to engage this opportunity so the state can thoughtfully invest these dollars in proven methods that will curb violent crime and strengthen public safety. Every Tennessean deserves to feel safe in their community, and our local law enforcement agencies deserve access to the resources needed to deliver that quality of life."

Between 2010 and 2020, the rate of violent crime offenses per 100,000 people in Tennessee stayed largely between 600 and 650, but it bumped up from 599 in 2019 to 673 in 2020, according to the FBI's online crime data.

Across the U.S., all instances of violent crime have stayed between 350 and 400 per 100,000 people during the same 10-year window.

Contact David Floyd at dfloyd@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249.

  photo  Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Gov. Bill Lee speaks to Tennessee Department of Transportation employees Friday in Chattanooga. Lee's office announced in October that it was creating a $100 million violent crime intervention fund and invited local law enforcement agencies in Tennessee to apply. The Chattanooga Police Department wants to submit a grant application for just over $1.6 million of that money.
 
 

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