Gov. Bill Lee, R-Tenn., spoke with Trey Gowdy on ongoing crime issues within his state and the country during his segment on “Sunday Night in America.”
The focus came primarily from Lee’s $100 million violent crime reduction grant that was recently approved by Tennessee’s Legislature. In addition, Lee also signed off on a $30 million recruitment and retention effort for police officers.
“We have a crime problem in this country. There’s no doubt about it,” Lee explained.
Though crime has increased in various parts of the country, Lee put particular blame on the open border causing an unprecedented amount of drug and human trafficking issues.
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“I think part of the real challenge is we have a border that is wide open, and there is illegal drug traffic flowing into this country in record amounts. It’s behind a lot of that crime. And it’s an unprecedented time. We have to take some unprecedented steps, I’m a strong believer law enforcement is a thin line between order and chaos. In Tennessee, we want to give them the resources and the respect that they deserve. We put a significant amount of engineer and funding into the recruitment of law enforcement officials from all over the country from states that may be don’t respect them and don’t support them. But we do here. We’re recruiting then, but we also are providing resources they need,” Lee said.
He added, “People deserve to live in a safe neighborhood. We have to make certain that we’re doing everything that we can to make sure it happens. We’re doing that here in the state.”
Lee also emphasized the government’s role in ensuring the safety of citizens.
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“When I ran, I said people deliver to have a good school for their kid, deserve to have a good job and deserve to live in a safe neighborhood. From the very beginning we have known that is one of the primary functions of government to provide for the security of the people of this state. We have invested, have been doing so, but we’re doubling down now because of the particular problem that exists in the country today,” Lee said.
In closing, Lee reemphasized the need to control the southern border to stem the rising crime rates throughout the country.
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“I am certainly hopeful that at the federal level, we can address the national security issue we have at the border. My wife and I went down last year, we had national guardsmen on the border of Texas. And it’s not just drug traffic, human trafficking, sex trafficking, the illegal activity that is happening down there in really unbelievable levels. It infiltrates the crime over every state in the nation. There are illegal drugs behind the vast majority of the violent crimes that are happening in the streets, and we need to make a change there,” Lee said.