News Release [printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2006
Fact Sheet: Department of Justice Law Enforcement Efforts
In New Orleans,
The Department of Justice is committed to working in partnership with
state and local law enforcement and communities to combat violent crime.
As part of this effort, the Department has allocated additional resources
to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Both new and existing programs
and resources include the following:
- The Department of Justice has made more than $20 million available to
the city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish to help rebuild the criminal
justice system there. In total, the Department has made available to the
state of Louisiana over $61 million in justice assistance grants (JAG)
and Katrina relief law enforcement infrastructure funds.
- The Department will temporarily
assign 10 attorneys to New Orleans to assist the U.S. Attorney’s
office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. These attorneys will focus
on prosecuting firearms, drug and immigration
- The Department
will hire nine additional Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) in the Eastern
District of Louisiana. The AUSAs will be tasked
with assisting fraud and violent crime prosecutions.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
- The ATF will assign four additional
ATF Special Agents to New Orleans to supplement the Violent Crime Impact
Team (VCIT), which focuses on reducing
gun crime. With the addition of these agents, the VCIT initiative will
be staffed by 10 ATF Special Agents and six New Orleans Police Officers.
These Special Agents and task force officers identify and pursue recidivist
offenders who are considered the “worst of the worst” and who
reside and operate in the designated VCIT area. In addition, the VCIT jointly
operates with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) within the designated
area during peak hours of criminal activity.
- The ATF will relaunch the 24-hour ATF Gun Hotline which allows citizens
to report the illegal use and possession of firearms for federal response.
The hotline phone number (504-581-GUNS) will be advertised in public service
announcements throughout New Orleans.
Drug Enforcement Administration
- The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force Group is comprised
of Drug Enforcement Administration agents working in partnership with detectives
from the NOPD. This group focuses exclusively on violent drug trafficking
organizations and violent offenders who have a prior criminal history involving
aggravated offenses as well as a direct nexus to drug trafficking within
the inner city.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- The FBI, in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement,
has recently launched a Violent Crime Intelligence Initiative to gather
information on violent criminals. The initiative integrates intelligence
from law enforcement agencies and creates a mechanism to distribute this
intelligence to federal, state and local law enforcement in New Orleans
and the surrounding areas.
- The FBI currently operates the
Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force which includes officers from the
NOPD and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s
Office. The Task Force is staffed with 13 FBI special agents and 13 officers
from area police departments and sheriffs' offices and focuses on the most
violent subjects—whether associated with an organized gang or working
in a more loose-knit fashion with other subjects.
United States Marshals Service (USMS)
- The USMS will assign four additional
Deputy Marshals to supplement the Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force.
The Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force
locates and arrests violent felony fugitives across 13 parishes in the
Eastern District of Louisiana, and includes representatives from the NOPD,
the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office, the St. Charles Parish
Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Probation and Parole, and the Coast Guard
Investigative Services. These Deputy Marshals will assist in targeting
and apprehending sex offenders and will prioritize violent offenders identified
by the Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force.
- The Crescent Star Fugitive Task
Force supports the NOPD’s Violent
Offender Warrant Squad by conducting weekly fugitive round-ups on targeted
violators. The Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force is also assisting the
Louisiana Probation and Parole Department in tracking down more than two
thousand wanted probation and parole offenders, whose whereabouts are unknown
since Hurricane Katrina.
- In addition, the USMS Technical Operations Group (TOG) will be made available
to assist and prioritize cases from the Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force.
The TOG provides the USMS, other federal agencies, and any requesting state
or local law enforcement agency with support in electronic surveillance,
aerial surveillance, communications, as well as analysis and intelligence,
related to fugitive investigations.
Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
- The Justice Department will work with local law enforcement and the National
Police Athletic League (PAL) to establish a new PAL chapter in the city
for the children of New Orleans. The PAL chapter will be made possible
by a grant from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance and
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which will also
support the PAL mission through technical assistance and other prevention
resources that benefit America's youth.
- The Department of Justice will provide funds and help establish Safe Havens
in the three New Orleans Weed and Seed Sites by the fall of 2006. Safe
Havens provide a secure recreation and learning environment for Weed and
Seed communities, keeping children off the streets and out of trouble.
- The Boys and Girls Clubs of America will re-establish the clubs that were
destroyed by Hurricane Katrina with funding provided through the Bureau
of Justice Assistance and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.