January 25th, 2007 12:00 EST
Law Enforcement Efforts in New Orleans
WASHINGTON " The Justice Department is committed to working in partnership and continuing its support of state and local law enforcement in New Orleans. In the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, the Department has endeavored to strengthen the collective ability of all levels of law enforcement to address the emerging challenges and find new ways to help reduce crime. As part of this effort, the Department has allocated additional resources to the New Orleans area. Both new and existing programs and resources include the following:
- The Department of Justice has made nearly $30 million in grants available to the city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish to help rebuild the criminal justice system. In total, the Department has made available to the state of Louisiana over $61 million in justice assistance grants and Katrina relief law enforcement infrastructure funds.
U.S. ATTORNEY`S OFFICES:
- The Department has committed to extend funding for six Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) detailees to the U.S. Attorney`s Offices for the Eastern District of Louisiana through the end of this fiscal year (FY 2007). These attorneys are focusing on prosecuting firearms, drug and immigration cases.
- The Department is in the process of hiring nine additional AUSAs in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The AUSAs will be tasked with assisting fraud and violent crime prosecutions.
- The U.S. Attorney`s Office will spearhead an initiative that will co-locate a small number of ATF, DEA, and FBI agents with New Orleans Police Department around the clock. These federal agents will identify cases that are subject to federal jurisdiction, provide the necessary investigative assistance to make federal arrests, and follow-up with federal prosecutions.
BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES (ATF):
- The ATF will provide six special agent details to supplement the six ATF agents permanently assigned to the New Orleans Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT). Four of the six special agent details were assigned to the New Orleans VCIT in August 2006, and the additional two special agent details are currently reporting for duty. This total increase temporarily doubles the standard ATF manpower assigned to the New Orleans VCIT. The VCIT initiative concentrates its efforts on high violent crime areas in New Orleans and targets violent offenders who violate federal firearms and narcotics statutes.
- ATF`s New Orleans Field Division has re-launched the 24-hour ATF gun hotline, (504) 581-GUNS (4867), which allows citizens to report the illegal use and possession of firearms for federal response. In addition, ATF has used an aggressive advertising campaign to publicize the local hotline number, resulting in numerous tips that have led to arrests of violent offenders.
- ATF has a trained explosives detection canine and special agent handler assisting the New Orleans Police Department in its fight against violent crime. This ATF canine is being used on a weekly basis by the New Orleans Police Department to locate shell casings, projectiles and firearms "including murder weapons "at shooting scenes.
- ATF has obtained new equipment to replace the National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (NIBIN) equipment that had been deployed at a New Orleans Police Department site, but was destroyed by Katrina. By the end of February, ATF will move the NIBIN equipment to the new ATF offices to facilitate use and access until the police department is able to identify a suitable permanent site. Once the NIBIN equipment is redeployed, New Orleans will be able to link up with over 200 sites throughout the country to compare ballistics information. NIBIN is a powerful tool in the fight to solve and reduce violent crime because it allows law enforcement to link together cold crimes and recovered weapons where previously very few, if any, leads existed.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (DEA):
- The DEA temporarily has been provided authority to investigate and enforce all federal criminal law, in addition to all federal drug laws. This authority will allow DEA agents to assist the New Orleans Police Department in maintaining law and order in the City of New Orleans.
- The DEA spearheads the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force Group, which is comprised of DEA agents working in partnership with detectives from the New Orleans Police Department. This group focuses exclusively on violent drug trafficking organizations and violent offenders who have a prior criminal history involving aggravated offenses as well as a direct nexus to drug trafficking within the inner city.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI):
- The FBI will detail an additional nine agents to the New Orleans area to supplement the 13 FBI Agents permanently assigned to the Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force. In addition to the FBI agents, the Task Force is staffed with officers from area police departments and sheriffs` offices, and focuses on the most violent subjects " whether associated with an organized gang or working in a more loose-knit fashion with other subjects.
- The FBI will provide training to the New Orleans Police Department on Project Pinpoint. Project Pinpoint combines existing police intelligence such as the location of crimes, bench warrant information, source coverage and tips from the public with mapping software. Using this innovative technique, the FBI and its law enforcement partners have been able to more efficiently use existing intelligence to solve real crimes.
UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE (USMS):
- The USMS will continue its increased support of the Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force by temporarily extending the additional three Deputy U.S. Marshals and one Investigative Analyst detailed to that task force in August 2006.
- The Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force supports the New Orleans Police Department`s Violent Offender Warrant Squad by conducting fugitive round-ups on targeted violators. The round-ups have been conducted twice weekly "a doubling of previous efforts "which has resulted in a significant number of additional arrests.
- The USMS Technical Operations Group (TOG) has provided assistance to and prioritized the cases from the Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force. The TOG routinely provides federal, state and local agencies with support in electronic surveillance, aerial surveillance, communications, as well as analysis and intelligence, related to fugitive investigations.