KTVA: AG Barr announces Anchorage among 10 cities in national crime prevention initiative
U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced Monday that Anchorage is one of 10 communities that will be part of the National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) — an initiative meant to combat violent crime across the nation.
According to a release from the Department of Justice, PSP enhances federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they "aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence."
"The Public Safety Partnership is a successful program that directs federal law enforcement resources to the cities where they can have the greatest impact,” Barr said in the release. “These resources help police departments to diagnose where crime is highest—and why—and to find, arrest and prosecute criminals. Several participating cities have already seen dramatic reductions in violent crime over the past two years. As we expand this program to 10 more cities across America, we are determined to replicate that success.”
U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young announced their support of the program Monday. The Anchorage Police Department also sent a release saying they would be involved in the partnership.
“Anchorage is facing alarmingly high rates of violent crimes and addressing this issue will take coordination at the federal, state, and local level—an all hands on deck approach,” the Alaska Congressional Delegation said in a release. “At a time when areas in Alaska are struggling so much with crime, we are encouraged to know the Department of Justice has chosen Anchorage as one of the new PSP sites. We are hopeful that this is the first step of many public safety initiatives from the Department of Justice. We can’t ignore the reality of what’s happening in these communities. As a delegation, we are committed to continuing our efforts in conjunction with the administration to combat the devastating epidemic of violent crime.”
The DOJ created the PSP in June 2017, after President Donald Trump's executive order charged the agency with combating crime nationally.
The 10 communities selected for the partnership include Anchorage, Alaska; Anniston, Alabama; Oxford, Alabama; Davenport, Iowa; Wichita, Kansas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Baltimore, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Amarillo, Texas; and Harris Count, Texas.
According to the DOJ release, these communities were selected because they "have sustained levels of violence that far exceed the national average and demonstrate a commitment to reducing crime [and comply] with federal immigration requirements."
“I congratulate Chief Doll and the Anchorage Police Department for their successful application to the PSP program,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Bryan Schroder in the release. “APD’s dedication to seeking all available resources to help stem violent crime in Anchorage is impressive. As the Attorney General discovered on his recent trip to Alaska, cooperation between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies is as strong here as anywhere in the country. Designation as a PSP city will bring additional resources to help us protect the people of Anchorage, and make all Alaskans safer.”
More than 30 cities have participated in the PSP so far, the DOJ release said. DOJ entities also involved include the Office of Justice Programs, Office on Violence Against Women, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals Service.
“This new program adds additional horsepower to the strong existing partnership between the Anchorage Police Department and the Department of Justice,” said Chief Justin Doll in the release. “It will be another tool in the ‘tool belt’ as Anchorage combats the increase in violent crime being felt across the country.”
By: Elizabeth Roman