White House Announcement on Public Safety

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Each year, we are faced with the extremely difficult task of determining how to spend your tax dollars in the highest and best manner but also addressing the many needs of our city.

Do we spend more money to provide more programs and summer jobs for our young people, more money for those who need a second chance or hire and train more police officers and firefighters and equip them with the wholistic tools needed to do their job?

As with so many things in City government—we have an almost infinite number of challenges we would like to solve, but only a finite amount of resources in which to do so. With limited funds, we have increased all the above to the degree that we could.

Well, I’m extremely pleased to tell you the White House released a statement earlier, and President Biden held a press conference yesterday to announce that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars can be used to fund the work we’ve been doing for years. They will fund youth opportunities, second chance programs, and improving public safety; and, additional resources will be made available to Memphis and other cities to further help. Go here for more information

Collectively, the State of Tennessee, Shelby County Schools, Shelby County Government, and the City of Memphis have received roughly $4.3 billion in ARPA funds. This is a dramatic increase in available funding and helps to pave the way towards long-lasting, meaningful change.

From a state perspective, we’re hoping these funds can go to things we’ve been asking for help with for many years—more and a permanent presence of Tennessee Highway Patrol Officers on our interstates in Memphis and cameras on our interstates in Memphis to help curb interstate shootings.

From a City perspective, these funds will allow us to allocate needed funding in so many areas, but because of limited funding through the years, we’ve not been able to make the progress we would like to have seen.

Over the past year, we’ve been working to reimagine the way in which our police department operates. These funds will allow us to make significant strides in taking a more wholistic approach to address public safety in our city by increasing funds for training, more community policing, more youth programs, more money for our new Group Violence Intervention Program, and more money for second chance programs.

We have a plan to address the decades old issue with public safety in our community, and with these funds, it will allow us to fully implement and work the plan.

My team met this morning, and I have tasked different City leaders with taking full advantage of these federal resources.

They are:

Chief Davis, Chief Sweat, and Asst. Chief Crowe – Public Safety
Chief Smith, Ken Moody, and Ryun Jackson – Opportunity Youth and Second Chance
Joy Touliatos – GVIP
Ike Griffith – Youth Summer Jobs

As we move through this process, stay tuned for more information.


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