The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Policing crisis and crime across America will only get worse before any improvement is seen, according to a former FBI special agent.
Former Supervisory Special Agent James A. Gagliano joined Sen. Marsha Blackburn on Wednesday and explained that there is a “huge mistake” being made when it comes to policing.
When Gagliano was asked how criminal justice policies sanctioned on the Left have contributed to the crime problem, he explained to Blackburn the severity of the harm caused by President Biden’s decision to “play footsy with the people that believe that defunding the police is the answer.”
Senator Blackburn shared that Tennessee law enforcement is overwhelmingly concerned with what they are hearing: “The rhetoric on the national scale — where people are turning on their TVs and hearing ‘defund the police’ — affects the police in your community because it emboldens people that want to strike out or lash out at the police,” she said.
Gagliano acknowledged that Biden had attempted to denounce defunding the police but said the damage had already been done. The former agent added, “that’s not what he did in 2020.”
He continued, “the fact that we are demonizing the police — we are de-policing. We are looking at decarceration, which means emptying the prisons out, and we are reimagining public safety.”
Gagliano claims further that “good officers” are retiring more than ever before and becoming harder to retain.
He explained the negative effects of rhetoric that the Left commonly uses against law enforcement, noting that no one was going to be encouraging their children to enter into the field because “the government writ large doesn’t have their backs.”
“We are seeing retirements at the law enforcement level that we have not seen since the 60s and the 70s,” he explained. “What’s going on now is causing people not to want to come into this profession.”
Though many levels and precautions of the pandemic have lifted, crime rates have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. According to the midyear report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, “compared to 2019 midyear figures, MCCA member cities have experienced a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s crime statistics database shows that crime in the state has actually increased by 17% since Governor Bill Lee took office in 2019, despite Lee’s supposed work to increase public safety.
Lee said that he and his administration had been working hard the past three years to strengthen public safety in the state of Tennessee, whether it involves law enforcement or not.
Lee recently spoke of some of the laws he has signed such as requiring mandatory supervision for offenders on release from prison and heightening penalties for violent gun crimes, gun theft, and drug trafficking.
Fox Nation’s Tucker Carlson laid much of the blame regarding the recent kidnapping and murder of Eliza Fletcher and the killing of four and injuring of three in mass shooting events, all taking place in Memphis, Tennessee, on Governor Lee. He claimed Lee’s soft-on-crime penalties were the cause of these crimes.
Fletcher’s murderer, Cleotha Abston, had recently been released early from state prison for a previous crime he had committed. He was not under any supervision or parole at the time of his attack.
Carlson stated that there are numerous reasons this is happening.
“The governor of Tennessee – believe it or not is a Republican – called Bill Lee ran on a platform of criminal justice reform. That means letting violent people out of prison early. In pursuit of that effort, he recently declined to endorse a so-called ‘truth in sentencing’ bill which would have required people convicted of violent crimes to serve their sentences. As Lee said last year, quote, ‘There are too many people in prison who don’t need to be there.’”
House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Lt. Governor Randy McNally recently sponsored a bill to require that violent crimes serve 100% of their prison sentences. The aim of this new legislation was to keep the most dangerous criminals from reoffending by keeping them behind bars.
Governor Lee allowed the bill to become a law without his signature, meaning he did not veto the bill, but he also did not fully support the legislation.
Lee explained his concern, stating, “Similar legislation has been enacted before and resulted in significant operational and financial strain, with no reduction in crime. Widespread evidence suggests that this policy will result in more victims, higher recidivism, increased crime and prison overcrowding, all with an increased cost to taxpayers.”
Sexton then pointed out that a 2020 Sentencing Commission report found tougher sentences reduce crime and the rate of return to prison by offenders after release.
Sexton said that it is a lawmaker’s job to protect people and support law enforcement: “Either we value life or we don’t; this legislation was about the most violent crimes committed in our state. It’s hard to stand with victims and law enforcement by going easy on criminals.”
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com