White House will allow Memphis to use money from COVID-19 stimulus bill to combat gun violence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis will soon be able to use money from the American Rescue Plan Act, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, to combat gun violence.

Wednesday afternoon, the White House announced a new strategy to address rising violent crime in the country. The White House says this strategy will use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and “clear guidance” to help state and local governments get the money they need to hire more police officers as well as fund crime prevention programs.

Memphis mayor Jim Strickland says the State of Tennessee, Shelby County Schools, Shelby County government, and the City of Memphis have collectively received roughly $4.3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“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 THP in Memphis, and cameras on interstates in Memphis to help curb interstate shootings,” Strickland said.

Strickland says it’s a dramatic “funding increase” that will help pave the way to “long-lasting and meaningful change.” He also noted that the funds would be used to complement and fund programs that help youth, second chance programs, and more.

Memphis Police chief CJ Davis also reacted to the announcement Wednesday.

“We are excited about these additional resources, and this announcement could not have come at a more urgent time,” Davis said in a statement. “We look forward to utilizing these funds to enhance recruitment strategies, overtime costs for crime reduction initiatives, youth programs, training, and more.”

Davis says MPD has responded to “unprecedented increases” in shootings and violent crimes over the past 18 months and that Wednesday’s announcement outlines a “holistic strategy” to cities like Memphis to receiving additional funding to combat gun crimes.

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