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Press Release

Justice Department Awards $95 Million to Improve Public Safety in State of Tennessee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – The Department of Justice today announced awards of approximately $95 million to support public safety efforts in the state of Tennessee. The funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will target violent crime, support law enforcement efforts to combat the manufacture and distribution of illicit drugs, improve officer mental health and wellness, and enhance school safety.

"Supporting our partners in state, local and tribal law enforcement is at the heart of our mission at the Department of Justice," said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. "These federal investments in the state of Tennessee will help keep kids safe in school, provide peer support services for law enforcement officers and give crime victims critical resources needed to heal in the aftermath of a crime."

"Tennessee’s brave crime-fighters and compassionate service providers deserve to know that the Department of Justice is doing everything in its power to help them safeguard their communities and protect their fellow citizens," said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katherine T. Sullivan. "The Office of Justice Programs is so very pleased to make its resources available to support them in this vital work."

Director Keith made the announcement in Nashville on Thursday morning along with U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Don Cochran; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee J. Douglas Overbey; U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee D. Michael Dunavant; and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Director David Rausch. Also on hand for the announcement were Metropolitan Nashville Police Deputy Chief John Drake; Memphis Police Deputy Chief Michael Hardy; Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Maggi Duncan; Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs Deputy Director Daina Moran; and Director of the Elizabethton, Tennessee City School District Dr. Corey Gardenhour.

TBI was awarded nearly $2 million from the COPS Office for investigating illicit activities related to heroin distribution and methamphetamine trafficking. In addition, the cities of Memphis and Nashville were both awarded funding through the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act program for their respective officer peer support programs. The well-being and safety of the nation’s law enforcement officers is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and these awards are a step in the direction of helping our men and women in blue get the services they need and deserve. Other awards announced today will assist with violent crime reduction, rapid DNA analysis, school safety, and victim services, and will provide much needed equipment for law enforcement agencies.

"These grant awards make possible programs which would otherwise be impossible to implement and provide our local governments with the necessary resources to make our communities safer," said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee. "I’m grateful to Director Keith and his office for the support they continue to provide to our state and local agencies."

"The Department of Justice is committed to providing meaningful resources to our state and local law enforcement partners, and this announcement of crucial public safety grant funding will fulfill the President’s Executive Orders to reduce crime in America and Back the Blue," said U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant of the Western District of Tennessee. "These grant resources from the COPS Office will allow our state and local partners to focus on the priority areas of violent crime and drug trafficking, as well as the emerging areas of school safety and officer health and wellness."

"I find the Department of Justice’s continued support of its law enforcement allies very heartening," said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey of the Eastern District of Tennessee. "These federal resources will serve to provide better tools to promote safety within our state as well as the well-being of law enforcement officers and victims of crimes. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to support its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in all endeavors that seek to promote justice and safety within our community."

"This grant funding will make the difference for our agency, by providing extra resources to help us better address some of the most pressing issues impacting communities across Tennessee," said TBI Director David Rausch. "We are thankful to our partners at COPS and the Department of Justice for their support and their investment in TBI and agencies across the state to improve public safety and the quality of life for all Tennesseans."

"The Memphis Police Department appreciates the COPS Office support through the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act funding which will expand Memphis’ Peer Support Program," said Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings. "These funds will allow us to increase the number of Peer Support Officers, enhance opportunities to utilize peer support, and make resources more accessible to officers."

"Through the support of Justice Department grants, our police department is able to deploy cutting edge technology to better protect our residents, ensure that we are caring for our employees’ mental health and wellness, and ensure that Metro Nashville Police Department personnel receive important specialized training in a number of areas," Chief Steve Anderson said. "I have often noted that the relationship with our Justice Department partners, including Don Cochran and Phil Keith, is outstanding. I’m grateful for their commitment to Nashville and the state of Tennessee."

A full list of COPS awards is available online at OJP awards, organized under specific grant programs, are available online at For OVW awards, visit

About the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services:

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 130,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit

About the Office of Justice Programs:

The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at

About the Office on Violence Against Women:

The Office on Violence Against Women provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In addition to overseeing federal grant programs, OVW undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges. Learn more at



Cherri Green
Public Affairs
(901) 544-4231

Updated November 7, 2019