ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson today announced $278,460 in Department of Justice funding to hire a special prosecutor to try federal firearms cases. The award supports violence reduction efforts as part of Operation Legend and other Department-led initiatives in cities across the country. An additional $500,000 is available to support a Real Time Crime Center that will provide police with rapid intelligence and instant information to help identify emerging crime patterns.
“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.”
“Operation Legend affords us the additional resources we need to address the persistently high rate of violent crimes in our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “Time and again, we see cases involving guns used to commit crimes in communities across New Mexico. Having a prosecutor dedicated specifically to these cases is a key advancement in our efforts to reduce these crimes over the long term.”
A grant to the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the State of New Mexico will support the hiring of a full-time local prosecutor who will be empowered to try firearms cases in federal court.
“State prosecutors in New Mexico face significant challenges in both holding and obtaining adequate punishments against the most dangerous offenders in the state criminal justice system,” said 13th Judicial District Attorney Lemuel L. Martinez. “The prospect of increased federal prosecutions is a major incentive for our state and local law enforcement counterparts to work with the United States Attorney’s Office. The special prosecutor funded through this grant will help us prevent these offenders from continuing their criminal acts.”
Prosecuting gun crimes is central to the Justice Department’s strategy under Operation Legend and other violence reduction initiatives 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.
More information about OJP and its components is available at www.ojp.gov.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years