US attorney general talks violent crime reduction, drug crisis in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday afternoon spoke to a crowd of hundreds of law enforcement officers in Indianapolis.

News 8 spoke to Sessions at the annual Indiana Law Enforcement Conference. Sessions began by saying he and President Donald Trump stand with law enforcement and need them to keep the country safe.

Then Sessions spoke about a program that launched last year, Project Safe Neighborhoods, designed to curb crime in communities.

“Under this project, we’ve ordered our United States attorneys to target and prioritize prosecutions of the most violent criminals in the most violent neighborhoods,” Sessions said.

He has directed those attorneys to work with state and local law enforcement as well as neighborhood groups, such as those those victim advocacy “in order to identify the needs specific to the individual communities and to develop a customized crime-fighting plan for that neighborhood,” Sessions said.  

The Department of Justice set aside almost $657,000 for the program this year in Indiana’s two federal judicial districts. 

Sessions said the program works. He said that at the national level, violent crime was down almost seven percent and murder was down by five percent in the first quarter of 2018.

“I like what he said,” said Charles Jones, a Hendricks County sheriff’s deputy who attended the conferemce. “Let’s just see if that holds true, if that is reached out to us, because Washington D.C. and here — the state of Indiana — is kind of a long distance.”

Sessions also spoke to law enforcement about the drug crisis.

“Our ask to you, and to my federal prosecutors, is: Give more attention to these fentanyl cases. Even a small case, give it attention. See if you can’t get that person to tell you where they got it,” Sessions said.

“As long as we have support from the very top, including from the officer on the street all the way through the chain of command, all the way to the top, and have the resources we need, I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s a great plan,” said Officer Candi Perry with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Given what some have described as turbulent times in the Trump administration, News 8 asked Sessions if he thinks Trump might fire him soon, or if he agrees with the anonymous author of a recent New York Times Op-Ed published Wednesday, claiming someone inside the administration is part of “the resistance.” 

Sessions did not comment on Thursday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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