KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The University of Tennessee is making its own contribution in Gov. Bill Lee’s $100 million initiative to reduce violent crime.

The state will be contracting with UT’s Institute for Public Service, which includes the Law Enforcement Innovation Center, to roll out the governor’s Violent Crime Intervention Fund (VCIF).

“Our main goal is to make life better for Tennessee and we provide the training necessary and deliver training necessary to our local law enforcement across the state,” said Rick Scarbrough, the executive director for the Law Enforcement Innovation Center and the former chief of the Clinton Police Department. “We have a history of providing state of the art world class training across the state and around the country. And we also have a history of being strategic partners of the governor’s office as well as Office of Justice Programming.”

Law enforcment agencies are strongly encouraged to work with the institute on putting together their VCIF grant project designs, submitting their applications, planning and implementing grant activities, and evaluating the impact of their programs.

“We’ll be able to bring these experts in who are who have experienced, direct experience. And from there, we’ll bring them in from all over the country who have experience in reducing violence in their particular areas,” Scarbrough said.

FBI data released last week showed Tennessee’s violent crime rate ranks third in the country.

“There have been programs in the past and funding available in the past for us to individually apply for grants and try to work on issues, but hats off to the governor’s office for recognizing the need across a Tennessee to help local agencies get the funding necessary to combat and mitigate violence in our cities,” said Scarbrough.

Law enforcement agencies can apply for grants to train specialized violent crime units, purchase new technology, and create partnerships with community organizations. Scarbrough explained they’ll work with these law enforcement agencies and cater to their needs on a case-by-case basis.

“That will vary depending on the communities they serve: smaller versus larger, rural versus metropolitan areas, in helping them try to have an analysis and assess what their issues are,” he said. “It may be an equipment issue they needed, maybe personnel they need, or more focused personnel in problem solving. And we want to help them use some evidence based techniques and bring any subject matter experts to help them solve their problems.”