NASHVILLE (WSMV) - City leaders say they are fed up with all of the people who are getting shot in Nashville, and on Thursday, they revealed their new effort to curb the violence.
Project Safe Nashville involves Mayor David Briley's Office, the Metro Nashville Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Nashville-Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, the ATF, the TBI and the FBI.
As part of this program, MNPD will create a new Crime Gun Unit, consisting of six detectives and one sergeant.
The unit will utilize current members of the police force who have "significant experience" fighting gun crime and using the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network. This database helps investigators track shell casings and connect them to other crimes. Shell casings are important because they're almost always left behind at crime scenes.
"Addressing violent crime is a major priority for my administration. Project Safe Nashville is an unparalleled interagency effort to save lives and make our city safer. It is a vital next step in preventing future gun crimes and in successfully prosecuting those who commit violent crimes in our city," said Briley in a news release."It will also help us get weapons out of the hands of our kids, allowing us to intervene in their lives before it’s too late. I was very pleased to see the homicide rate for 2018 down by 22 percent, and I know Project Safe Nashville will give MNPD even more tools to support the great work they are already doing."
Overtime funding for the detectives will come from a $319,000 grant from the Department of Justice.
Two ATF agents will be directly collaborating with the special unit. Eight other ATF agents will be spread out among the police precincts in Nashville.
Two prosecutors have been added to the U.S. Attorney's Office to help with these types of violent crimes. Officials say when they arrest these gunmen, they'll be handing down federal charges as often as they can. With federal charges, you must serve all of the time you are sentenced to because there are no opportunities for parole.
"To anyone who uses a crime gun, whether it's a gun like this one used by a felon or whether it's a gun like that 40-caliber that we know is out there committing crimes on the streets of Nashville, we are coming after you with this new task force and with all the resources we have together on the stage, and we will take back our city and our streets for all the citizens of this magnificent city," said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran.
In the past two weeks alone, News4 has reported on three shootings in three different parts of Nashville. The most recent happened on Sunday morning on Poplar Place in East Nashville. Another happened at a home on Savannah Court in west Nashville on Saturday. Last Friday, there was a shooting outside a hookah lounge in Antioch.
"Hopefully it does something and it works," gun violence survivor Clint Richardson said. "I mean you don't know until you try."
Richardson was shot during a "bump and rob" almost a year ago in Bellevue. Richardson had stopped at the red light at the intersection of Highway 100 and Old Hickory Boulevard when his car was bumped from behind. When he got out to look for damage, he was met with a gun.
"When I got out the person confronted me and attempted to rob me, and shot me at point blank range," Richardson said. "It was a pretty tough year I had to learn how to walk again."
According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, deadly shootings are down this year compared to other years. From January through Aug. 22, 2018, there were 45 shootings. During the same time in 2017, there were 54 deadly shootings. That's down 16.7 percent.