DETROIT - The Justice Department announced that the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance have awarded more than $61 million in grant funding to support the Attorney General's Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP) initiative. Of that $61 million, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office will receive $1.4 million. In addition, the Detroit Police Department will receive $2.4 million.
Launched on Dec. 18, 2019, ORP aims to intensify federal law enforcement resources into seven American cities with violent crime levels several times the national average - Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee.
"While violent crime is down across the country as a whole, some communities remain caught in the grips of violent actors," said Attorney General William P. Barr. "That's why I launched Operation Relentless Pursuit last December - an initiative to combat violent crime in seven cities where it remains stubbornly high. Today's grant awards are critical to our mission. We cannot succeed in eradicating crime without resources - the most vital of which are the brave men and women who serve and protect our communities each day. These funds will boost the forces that need them most."
To meet the objectives of the program, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office (WCPO) will hire 7 attorneys and contract with the 3rd Circuit Court to secure the services of a one-person grand juror. The Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) will work directly with the ATF, FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals to coordinate and vertically prosecuteviolent crimes, gun crimes, human trafficking, and targeted offenders. They will work collaboratively with the United States Attorney's Office to determine which path(s) of prosecution will have the greatest impact on violent crime and best advance the goals of the operation.
At least one APA will be dedicated to the one-person grand jury; a specially assigned circuit court judge with broad powers to investigate criminal activity through streamlined and secret proceedings. With a one-person grand jury witnesses can be examined under oath far more quickly than under "traditional" processes and without the fear that important testimony will be shared with other witnesses or targets of the investigation. The grant funds awarded to the Detroit Police Department will go to fund 15 new police officer positions.
United States Attorney Matthew Schneider stated, "Even during this pandemic, our local law enforcement partners continue to make great progress in keeping our communities safe, and I'm very pleased we can support them by bringing in more federal resources.." Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, "In order to prosecute violent crime we need the staff and resources to do so. The award of $1.4 million dollars will allow us to hire seven assistant prosecutors to work with other law enforcement agencies to vertically prosecute violent offenders. This type of coordinated response has been shown to be effective and successful. We are thankful that the Department of Justice has awarded the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office this grant."
The COPS Office, through its COPS Hiring Program (CHP), awarded a total of $51 million to be used to hire 214 sworn law enforcement officers for state and local law enforcement task forces. The recipients of the funding will deploy existing veteran officers to task force duties and use the CHP funding to hire new recruits to backfill those positions, as practical. Officers deployed to Operation Relentless Pursuit task forces as a result of CHP funding must be sworn, career law enforcement officers of the awarded agency, and their work on the task force must benefit their jurisdiction. In addition, they are required to work with their respective U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) and relevant federal agencies to investigate and prosecute suspects involved in gangs, drug trafficking, and other violent crime- related issues.
"Successful strategies to target and reduce violent crime are extremely resource intensive," said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. "There is no greater resource than additional men and women on the front lines of relentless fight against gangs, drug traffickers and those that mean harm to our nation's communities. The funding announced today is greatly needed for the Operation Relentless Pursuit jurisdictions and the COPS Office is honored to dedicate resources for this effort."
The Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is making $10 million available to support Operation Relentless Pursuit. BJA funds will support efforts such as the hiring of additional prosecutors, overtime expenses for task force members, multi-agency investigations, mobile data terminals and modern technological platforms, and development of strategic plans to address gaps in combating violent crime.
"The responsibility for fighting crime and violence belongs to agencies at every level of government, and winning that fight turns on our ability to deploy our collective resources wisely and effectively," said Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. "We are eager to make these funds available so that our federal, state and local partners can continue the vital and noble work of protecting America's most dangerous communities."
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.