RALEIGH, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. today announced $332,876 in Department of Justice funding to hire a Special Assistant United States Attorney to try federal firearms cases originating in Wake County. The award supports violence reduction efforts as part of Operation Legend and other Department-led initiatives in cities across the country. In the Eastern District of North Carolina, that initiative is called Take Back North Carolina.
“Keeping its citizens safe is the primary responsibility of government,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Cities plagued by violent crime need the resources to tackle it, and these grant awards will help do that. On the enforcement side, Real Time Crime Centers will make policing more efficient and targeted; and on the prosecution side, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys will help bring more federal firearms cases to justice.”
Attorney General Barr announced that the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs is making up to $5.3 million available in grants to support Operation Legend sites nationwide. More than $1.3 million will fund special prosecutors who have been cross-designated to try federal firearms cases originating in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kansas City, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, these and other Legend cities will be eligible for grant funding to support Real Time Crime Centers. These centers are a considerable financial investment for any law enforcement agency. The funding being made available to each Legend city can assist police departments in purchasing critical equipment and paying for the overtime to keep these centers staffed around the clock.
“We are pleased to support the outstanding work being undertaken through Operation Legend to reduce violent crime by focusing on cases involving illegal firearms,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “The Office of Justice Programs is pleased to make these resources available to support the brave crime-fighters who work so hard to deter violence and keep our communities safe.”
“We are pleased that the Department of Justice has provided this additional and critically needed funding in support of our efforts in the Eastern District to fight violent crime and return our communities to law-abiding citizens,” said United States Attorney Higdon. “Adding this prosecutor to our team will have real and immediate positive effect in our community.”
A grant to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts for the Wake County District Attorney’s Office will support the hiring of a full-time Special Assistant United States Attorney who will be empowered to try firearms cases in federal court. Prosecuting gun crimes is central to the Justice Department’s strategy under Operation Legend and other violence reduction initiatives – like the Take Back North Carolina Initiative – led by the Department. These efforts follow a sustained, systematic and coordinated approach to gun violence in which federal law enforcement agencies work closely with state and local officials to fight violent crime. Funding comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs.
The Department of Justice launched Operation Legend in July, following the murder of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept in his Kansas City home. The initiative was subsequently expanded from Kansas City to Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Indianapolis. Since the summer launch, officials in Operation Legend sites have made more than 5,500 arrests, including approximately 276 for homicide, and seized more than 2,000 firearms. Of the more than 5,500 individuals arrested, approximately 1,124 have been charged with federal offenses. More than 600 of those defendants have been charged with firearms offenses.
The Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina is an initiative that emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement. For more information about this initiative click here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ednc/tbnc
More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.