General Gonzales Announces Additional Federal
WASHINGTON – Today, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced additional federal resources to help combat the recent increase in violent crime in New Orleans. These additional resources will support state and local law enforcement officials who are struggling to meet the challenges of fighting violent crime in the continued aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The announcement was also made at a press conference in New Orleans by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten of the Eastern District of Louisiana, along with Special Agents in Charge Jim Bernazzani of the FBI, David Harper of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), William Renton of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Michael Holt of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Acting U.S. Marshal Roxanne Irwin, New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley, and Regional Director of the Office of Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Donna Gambrell.
“The people of New Orleans deserve the opportunity to rebuild their communities without the fear of being victimized by violent criminals. These new resources further demonstrate the Department of Justice’s support of state and local law enforcement to meet the challenges of preventing and prosecuting violent crime and to rebuild and strengthen the criminal justice system in the continued aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “Ultimately, New Orleans’ violent crime problem must be solved by local leadership and the hard work of local law enforcement professionals. I commend all the federal, state and local law enforcement professionals who dedicate themselves every day to the hard task of providing safety and security to the residents of New Orleans.”
Justice Department officials outlined the additional resources that will act as a force multiplier to those state and local law enforcement officers dedicated to fighting violent crime in New Orleans. The additional federal resources include the following commitments:
Last August, the Attorney General toured state and local law enforcement facilities and met with federal, state and local law enforcement officials to discuss ongoing collaborative efforts to fight crime and rebuild the community. The Attorney General also met with members of the Louisiana congressional delegation and state and local government officials to discuss how the federal government can best assist state and local law enforcement in combating violent crime.
These new resources build upon the Department’s efforts in the last year. Following Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was a driving force in the creation and continued vitality of the Southeast Louisiana Criminal Justice Recovery Task Force, and the Department has made nearly $30 million in grants available to the city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish to help rebuild the criminal justice system. In total, the Department has made available to the state of Louisiana over $61 million in justice assistance grants and Katrina relief law enforcement infrastructure funds.