News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2006

Fact Sheet: Department of Justice Law Enforcement Efforts
In New Orleans, Louisiana

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:

Funding

  • 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.

United States Attorney’s Office

  • 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 cases.
  • 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 Agency 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.

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