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Top law enforcement leaders speak at Justice Department symposium in Hoover

Monday 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 and Attorney General Jeff Sessions all spoke in Hoover at the Symposium for the National Public Safety Partnership.

22 major cities in the country participated in the Symposium.

“It is going to take a partnership to reduce crime,” said Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith. “We need to build bridges with the community because it is the community that allows us to work in their space.” Smith said that law enforcement is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.

Jefferson County Sherriff Mike Hale (R) said that Jefferson County encompasses 38 cities and towns and 28 police departments. He has served in law enforcement for 42 years.

Hale said that we have had some great teamwork with other departments and with federal law enforcement agencies. It is not about the Sheriff’s office or who gets the credit it is about protecting the community from crime.

“All of the U.S. Attorneys are men of integrity but we have a good one here,” Hale said speaking of Jay Town. I was to Washington DC meeting with one of the Deputy U.S. Attorneys telling them that we have got to do something about crime; when new U.S. Attorney Jay Town called me. “He has made us feel like we are on the same team.”

Town said, “The best thing bout Steve Marshall is that he is a cerebral man. He understands what we are trying to do at the national level.”

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“I have been introduced in a lot of places but that is the first time that I have been described as cerebral,” Marshall said. As Alabama Attorney General I walk in the footsteps of Jeff Sessions and I am part of his legacy. “In my career I have not seen a more active Attorney General.”

“We are all better off when we don’t care who gets the credit,” Marshall said. “Jay (Town) and I have been part of 240 arrests in just the last 12 months.” “We have made a difference with the help of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

Marshall acknowledged that Alabama is one of the ten most violent states to live in and that we have the fifth highest murder rate in the country. He also discussed the police officer in Selma who was ambushed in his squad car and shot multiple times.

“We know that there continues to be work to be done, and I would hope in a state that values the work of law enforcement, not only are we praying for that officer and his family, but also that we stand up just as the U.S. Attorney General has done nationally for law enforcement,” AG Marshall said.

The Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance John Adler said, “Folks I can tell you that after serving 26 years in law enforcement no cop is an island.” Of the Public Safety Partnership, Adler said, “If we don’t get the partnership right we are not going to get the public safety right.”

Adler said that our President issued an executive order to use federal resources to fight violent crime. Attorney General Jeff Sessions put that initiative into effect with his announcement of the Public Safety Partnership in 2017. The PSP is designed to help empower and build capacity to fight crime at the local level.

“We are on your side,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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.”

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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