Mayor Releases Statement Ahead of Special Session

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Mayor Releases Statement Ahead of Special Session

Posted: 08/17/2023
The following is a statement from Mayor Indya Kincannon:
As Mayor of Knoxville, public safety is my top priority.  I support the Governor’s call for a Special Session to consider legislative measures to make our communities safer.
While there are many perspectives on how to accomplish these goals, the conversation must continue to include all parts of our state and all communities.
As someone who was present during a deadly active shooter incident, I recognize the long- lasting impact gun violence can have on victims, survivors and loved ones. I will be forever grateful for the brave souls who interceded and saved the lives of myself, my children, and many others, in the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville in July 2008. And I will always remember those who lost their lives that day.

We are taking proactive steps to reduce gun violence in Knoxville, but many common sense safety measures can only be adopted by our state legislators.  Specifically, Knoxville would benefit from the following:

1. More resources for mental health in the Knoxville region
2. Support for mental health orders of protection
3. Stronger domestic violence orders of protection
4. Additional laws around safe storage of weapons
5. Universal background checks for all firearm sales

As Mayor, here are some of the steps I have taken to address public safety:

Developing a new cabinet-level position of Director of Community Safety and Empowerment to develop strategies and solutions around violence interruption. As part of that work, the City has partnered with Thomas Abt and the Violence Reduction Center at the University of Maryland.
Supporting law enforcement by creating a new, modern public safety center, providing significant increases in compensation to retain and recruit officers, and developing strategic partnerships to recruit the next generation of officers. 
Increasing police accountability with body-worn cameras and Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) training, a peer intervention program to prevent mistakes and misconduct.
Implementing a co-responder model that partners licensed mental health professionals with Knoxville Police Department officers to intercede in challenging situations.
Supporting the creation of a new behavioral health center at the former St. Mary’s hospital campus.
There is much more to be done, but I am hopeful that the conversation during this specially called legislative session will help move Knoxville and the entire state toward a safer tomorrow.