NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The mayor’s office recently announced nearly $2 million in grant funds will go toward a new violence intervention and prevention program. 

The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will give Nashville $1,988,190 to develop the Community Violence and Prevention Initiative, or CVIPI.  

The program would send former offenders or citizens interested in making their neighborhoods safer out into the community, with the hopes to prevent violent incidents from happening.  

Metro’s Office of Community Safety Director Ron Johnson said their department plans to hire three “credible messengers” to cover South Nashville/Antioch, North Nashville, and Madison. The messengers would receive full salaries and benefits. 

“The risk comes with the reward, and so without risk there’s no reward, but the thing that makes it great is the relationship that they have with someone who may and/or are perpetrators or perpetrators of some of the things that are happening out there. See, somebody that knows somebody that knows somebody that may be committing a crime, they may listen more to the person that they respect than someone that just popped in their community,” Johnson said.  

Exactly when messengers will be hired is still unknown, along with how much they will make. Johnson said his goal would be to see data of how the program has helped reduce violence within the next year. 

Grant money will fund the program for the next three years.