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City leaders call for a bigger police presence in Antioch

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 23:58:08-05

ANTIOCH, Tenn (WTVF) — Terrifying moments in the middle of the afternoon: a man shot and robbed outside the New Century Buffet in Antioch. The shooting was enough to scare the restaurant manager, who says he usually doesn't see this kind of criminal activity.

The crime is the latest in a string of violent shootings in the South Nashville and Antioch areas so far this year. It has local leaders calling on Mayor John Cooper and other city officials to step up for help. Councilwoman Joy Styles says there was a double murder in her district last Saturday, and is planning to meet with the Mayor to discuss funding possibilities.

Styles says the area needs more officers but she knows the Metro Nashville Police Department is doing all it can with limited resources. Styles and Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher say a 9th police precinct in the southeast area could help.

"If we can open the south district precinct on Murfreesboro Road that changes the game entirely because now we have police officers who are available," said Styles.

Both council members believe the increased police presence alone will cut down on crimes.

"Let's just get that commitment so that we can get this precinct built and the recruitment of officers and so forth, the police department they are actually handling that and doing a great job. It’s a disservice to our officers because we’re asking them to do more with less," said Vercher.

The city did purchase the old K-Mart on Murfreesboro Road in hopes of turning it into a police precinct, but a lack of funding has put the plans on hold.

Vercher calls the violent actions across the city a public safety crisis. "These happenings are happening out in southeast today, but this could be your community tomorrow."

A Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson says staffing a 9th precinct will take 66 new hires to open. The department says there have been requests to open the new precinct, but those request have not been approved.

The last precinct to open was Midtown Hills in 2014.