KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — In our new monthly segment, Heart of the Matter, we sit down with a local newsmaker and spend time diving into real topics with real answers, unedited and unfiltered.
Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen carries a large caseload, a minimum of 35-thousand cases come through her office every year.
10 News Anchor Abby Ham sat down with Allen to talk about her important role in Knox County.
She is the first woman ever elected to this post and after almost a decade in office, she weighs in on the drug problem in our community, the realities of human trafficking and the one case she will never forget.
Allen has maintained a 'tough on crime' approach in Knox County. "We always ask for the max in cases that deserve that, serious crimes against people or child abuse cases, we're tough on those cases, we don't give breaks on those cases," said Allen.
Allen emphasizes working very closely to end the start of the problem, "The problem is a drug issue and a mental health issue. And so one of the things we're doing to combat that is we are trying to get a mental health court up and running here in Knox County. We're very close, that's going to start in the next couple of months actually. So Mayor Jacobs put together a committee headed by Mike Hammond and I serve on that committee," Allen said.
Allen also discussed the persistent drug problem in East Tennessee. "The number one age group dying from fentanyl is 35 to 45 followed by 45 to 55. So it's not young teenagers and 20-something-year-olds, it's parents and grandparents. It's everybody," said Allen.
Watch our full conversation here