Joda Thongnopnua, the Democratic candidate for Tennessee’s 30th State House District, responded to Wednesday’s reports of another shooting in East Ridge, Tennessee and called for stronger state policies to support local police departments in their efforts to arrest and convict violent offenders.
Thongnopnua noted that the shooting is another in a series of violent incidents in East Ridge. He indicated that this issue must be a priority, not just at the local level, but for state leadership as well. Highlighting an innovative initiative that has seen success across the country, Thongnopnua insisted on state support for the development of local gun crime units that tackle violence involving firearms.
“An important part of ensuring that working families can get ahead is making sure that our neighbors can go to sleep feeling confident that bullets aren’t going to be flying through their homes in the middle of the night,” Thongnopnua said, noting that the most recent incident resulted in bullets traveling through exterior walls into three other apartments. “We need to make sure that our police officers have the tools they need to go after the individuals who are endangering others.”
Chattanooga is one municipality in Hamilton County that has launched a gun crime unit specifically dedicated to investigating gun-related incidents. The multidisciplinary teams identify sources of crime through the immediate collection of evidence, such as shell casings, in real time, in an effort to identify shooters and stop future violent criminal activity. Additionally, Thongnopnua proposed additional funding for joint-task force operations between federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations and inter-municipality collaboration as a strategy to reduce violent crime in communities like East Ridge.
“Supporting gun crime investigation units within local police departments has been successful in places like Milwaukee and Denver,” Thongnopnua said. “Would-be criminals need to know, if you’re going to shoot at someone, you will end up in prison. That’s why I believe in supporting efforts to get these state-of-the-art tools and methods throughout my district.”
More information on the function and details of gun crime units and their work can be found at https://crimegunintelcenters.o