Monday, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) was in Hoover to address a Department of Justice National Public Safety Partnership Symposium. Sessions told the members of law enforcement gathered there, “We have your back and you have ours.”
U.S. Attorney Jay Town, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale (R-Jefferson County), Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R), Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith, Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis, and the Department of Justice’s Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance John Adler were also present at the Symposium.
“It is good to be back in Alabama,” AG Sessions said. “I had a good weekend.”
Sessions said that U.S. Attorneys Jay Town and Louis V. Franklin, “Are already doing a great job fighting crime,” and that Richard Moore will do an excellent job in the Southern District.
“The people in this room represent the finest in American law enforcement,” Sessions said. American law enforcement is unsurpassed, but “When you have 800,000 law officers somebody is going to make a mistake every now and then.”
“We have had some very confused thinking in recent years and we are working to put an end to that,” Sessions said. The U.S. Attorneys that President Donald J. Trump (R) has appointed, “Felt to me like 1981 when President Reagan put together his team of U.S. Attorneys. This is a good bunch. I am proud of them I think they will make a difference.”
“President Donald Trump is a law and order President,” Session stated. “During the last two years of the previous administration violent crime increased. Murder went up more than 20 percent in 2015 and 2016.”
Sessions said that from 1964 to 1980 crime tripled in America and then from 1991 to 2014 violent crime had dropped by half. Murder had dropped by half and rape by a third. Violent crime has dropped steadily for the last 30 years, then ticked up in 2015 and 2016.
“We are not going to let the progress that we worked so hard for be lost,” Sessions said. “We are going to work to reduce crime rates.”
“We are on your side,” the AG told law enforcement. “We are not confused. We are on law enforcement’s side not the criminals’ side. We have no intention to preside over rising crime rates in America.”
Sessions said that just yesterday we had three police officers shot in this country: in Boston, in Baltimore, and in Selma a police office was shot several times in his vehicle.
“Some people think the crime rates do up and down like the tide,” Sessions said. “That is not the President’s view and that is not this Attorney General’s view.”
Sessions praised Project Safe Neighborhoods, “I am confident that it works.”
“We send our diagnostic teams to find out where crimes are rising,” AG Sessions said. “We want to help you find the most violent criminals and help you put them behind bars.” Sessions said that their focus will be on what New York City calls alpha criminals.
Sessions praised the National Public Safety Partnership which he said, “Is already leading to successes in your cities.”
Session said that the DOJ has identified a crime hotspot in Memphis, thanks to the Public Safety Partnership (PSP) and here in Birmingham the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) arrested more than 20 violent crime members who are charged with more than 800 crimes and took 70 illegal weapons off the streets. The 800 crimes is just the ones we know about that they committed.
“Last month I announced that we are expanding PSP,” to other cities, Sessions said. “Our goal is not just how many people we can arrest, but making communities safer. We are going to keep supporting PSP because it is supporting you and your communities. The Department of Justice will provide funding for gun crime intelligence centers.
Sessions said that there will be grants announced to fund training for 230 school resource officers. “We are firming up some really good ideas to make our schools safer.”
“In 2017 the Department of Justice brought more cases against violent criminals than in the 25 years we have been keeping records,” Sessions said. “We have charged the most federal firearms crimes in a decade.”
Sessions said that the overall violent crime rate has dropped in the thirty biggest cities by five percent from this point last year and murder in our 30 biggest cities is down six percent.
Sessions said that you get more crime when you let the ACLU run the Justice Department. “If you want less crime let professional law enforcement run the program.”
“One thing each of you can be certain of is: We have you back you have ours,” Sessions concluded.