Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jan 2002
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2002 Chattanooga Publishing Co.


The No. 1 responsibility of government is to provide for your safety
and security.

Our federal government does it through national defense, as it is
doing now in the war against terrorism, and enforcing our federal
laws. State and local governments meet their responsibility through
policing, prosecuting and imprisoning criminals.

Rudy Giuliani became famous as mayor of "ungovernable" New York City
by getting tough on petty, as well as major, criminals. He and New
Yorkers found that when there was tough prosecution of small-time
criminals -- ranging from jumpers of subway turnstiles to shoplifters
to panhandlers harassing pedestrians -- all crimes, including the big
ones, declined. The people of New York City became safer -- and
enjoyed feeling more secure.

Just six!

So his staff of 19 prosecutors (14 funded by the state, five by the
county) and other attorneys general across Tennessee know they could
do a better job protecting you from crime if they had more
prosecutors. They also know Tennessee's financial crunch makes this a
tough time to be asking the Legislature for more. But they are asking
for one-third (47) of the 142 additional prosecutors they would like
to have statewide to safeguard us better. They are convinced that
shortening the time between offense and trial would greatly reduce

Mr. Cox, Knox County Attorney General Randy Nichols and Shelby County
Attorney General William Gibbons came to the newspaper this week to
spread that message. They report that much crime is committed by
repeaters, and that 80 percent of crime is committed by people on
drugs or alcohol, often to get money for more drugs and alcohol. You
can understand why the attorneys general want more prosecutors to
safeguard us better. Their proposal would cost $3 million a year.

They also are bidding for some of the future "tobacco settlement
money" for treatment of drug and alcohol addicts through drug courts.

They want legislators to vote stiffer penalties for anyone who uses a
gun in committing a crime. That would mean more prison time and would
cost about $27 million a year.

They also urge enactment of a "street terrorism bill" to increase
sentences when violent crimes are committed by three or more people in
concert. The cost would be about $8.5 million a year.

Tax money being short, the attorneys general won't get all they want
to increase your safety. But we all should know what's needed.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake