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TN Politics: Police Get More Funding as City Braces for New Era of Gunslinging

Mayor Jim Strickland
Mayor Jim Strickland at a press conference on June. 23, 2021.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says federal funding for more police comes as Republican lawmakers add one more challenge for urban law enforcement during a massive wave of homicides: allowing citizens to carry firearms openly and without any permitting or training necessary.

On Wednesday, the City of Memphis announced that funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will be used to bolster its more "holistic" approach to policing at a time when homicides for the year have topped 140 — about 20 more than last year at this time.

Some of the funding will be earmarked for training police how to deal with a new state law that goes into effect July 1, making it legal to openly carry firearms in public, no permits or training necessary.

"This legislation provides more flexibility for individuals who would commit a crime to actually open carry," said the city's new police chief C.J. Davis.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says in a time of heightened tensions in society, this new law only adds to the challenges facing Memphis police.