NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police and local churches are teaming up to get guns off the streets of Nashville.
Lieutenant Steven Bowers explained how this gun retrieval program is aiming to reduce violent crimes in the city.
“I always say if we can get five guns, 10 guns, 20 guns that may be five, 10, 20 lives that we can save,” Lt. Bowers said.
So far this year, 259 guns have already been taken from cars in Davidson County.
The rise in crime is something the Metro Police Office of Alternative Policing Strategies says prompted them to create this program.
“Any connection with the youth especially ones who are getting sucked off into the lifestyle of violent crimes or going down a wrong path, we make sure we try and connect with those individuals to keep them on the path of staying out of jail, just being safe overall,” Lt. Bowers said.
One of the ways police believe they can achieve this goal is by partnering with local churches.
“Try to get these people to look to their pastors or maybe to the staff members at these churches where they feel comfortable enough to turn a weapon in,” Lt. Bowers said.
So far, eight churches are participating and those churches offer a no-questions-asked process where community members can anonymously turn in firearms.
“The officer goes to that church location to retrieve that weapon they are not going to ask any questions of who turned that weapon in,” Lt. Bowers said.
There’s no end date to this program, however, police say sticking to the no questions asked policy is key in order for success.
“The day somebody goes out and does that, and an officer or somebody breaks that promise that we have with the churches and the community, I know that will be the day the program is no more,” Lt. Bowers said.
The churches will be equipped with secure lockboxes to safely store those weapons until police can collect them and you don’t have to be a member of the churches to drop off the guns.
Right now, the gun retrieval program is in 4 precincts — East, North, Madison and Hermitage.