March 28, 1995 in Nation/World

Collaboration Having Impact On Violent Crime, Reno Reports Law Enforcement Agencies Putting Turf Wars Behind Them

Kevin Galvin Associated Press
 

Cooperation among federal, state and local authorities is paying off in progress against violent crime, Attorney General Janet Reno said Monday.

A yearlong campaign led to federal prosecutors filing 5,270 cases against 7,109 violent and repeat offenders between March and Dec. 31 of last year, she said in a report to President Clinton.

“We tried to eliminate the turf battles because no one cares what badge someone is wearing when they crack a case or put away a violent criminal,” Reno said.

Local law enforcement officials who joined Reno at the Justice Department said information sharing between agencies and greater access to federal resources had boosted their crime-fighting efforts.

“In addition to access to resources, cooperation gives us greater flexibility,” said Patricia Jessamy, the state attorney for Baltimore, who said federal support was key to winning convictions in the case of a 10-year-old boy killed by stray gunfire during a drug-related shootout.

In other examples, Reno said:

A housing project in Cairo, Ill., that had become a crack cocaine distribution center was cleaned up after 69 federal and 38 state prosecutions.

In Fort Dodge, Iowa, 43 members of a drug trafficking organization were arrested, and 38 have been convicted so far, helping make 1994 a murder-free year in the town.

Dennis E. Nowicki, chief of police in Charlotte, N.C., said murders were down 34 percent in his city in 1994, and violent crime down 10 percent, compared with 1993.

In addition to federal law enforcement, Nowicki attributed the crackdown to tougher federal sentences that “send a message” to violent offenders.

Reno also announced $15 million in grants to U.S. attorneys around the country to fight violent crime.

Washington, D.C., is to receive $1.1 million of those funds to continue a program that put FBI agents on the streets with local cops and to implement an intensive gun seizure program.

U.S. Attorney Eric Holder said the federal-local partnership has had a “major impact,” helping to reduce the homicide rate by 15 percent and violent crime by 6 percent in the city.

“Washington, D.C., is no longer the nation’s murder capital,” Holder said.


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