Governor says new Tennessee highway troopers heading to Shelby County

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Governor Bill Lee wants to hire 100 new highway troopers, and he’s now increasing how many are planned to be committed to Shelby County.

“We’ve been asking the governor and he’s agreed to give us more troopers because the more the highway patrol is on the interstates, the more city officers can focus on streets,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

The governor says he’s budgeting to hire 100 new troopers across the state.

“We originally committed 20 of those to Shelby County, but there will be more than that when we finish the training for these troopers,” Lee said.

For months, Lee has been trying to reach that 20-trooper threshold, but has fallen short.

Strickland says the current number is 13, so hopes of exceeding the 20-trooper target may seem out of reach.

On Wednesday, the governor released a new Highway Patrol Trooper recruitment video, highlighting two troopers who moved from California and New Mexico to work in Tennessee.

The video was released just days before the Oct. 3 application deadline for the cadet academy, which is slated to start in February 2023.

However, recruitment for law enforcement officers of all types is a struggle across the country as crime has skyrocketed.

Lee also budgeted $100 million in last year’s budget for Tennessee cities to apply for violence intervention grant dollars.

Memphis’ mayor says he wants those funds to focus on juvenile crime.

“I’ve talked to Juvenile Court. I’ve spoken to Shelby County Schools,” Strickland said. “We’re all going to try to team together for more intervention with these younger kids who are 11, 12,13,14 years old, and really need high-volume interaction with them and their family to get them on the right path.”

While it’s unclear how much of the $100 million will come to Shelby County, the governor says funds will be released as early as March of next year.

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