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ANGELA DODGE
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April 29, 2011

US ATTORNEY MORENO LAUNCHES SDTX OFFICER SAFETY INITIATIVE IN LAREDO

(LAREDO, Texas) - Today, as part of the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Officer Safety Initiative, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno met with heads of local law enforcement agencies from Webb, LaSalle and Zapata Counties to discuss the most serious threats currently facing our officers and ways to enhance their safety.

The AG's initiative was launched in March 2011 in response to the dramatic rise in the number of federal, state and local officers killed in the line of duty during the previous 15 months. Last year, 2010, was one of the deadliest years on record for law enforcement in nearly two decades. Even worse, if this tragic trend were to continue, the number of deaths of law enforcement officers killed in 2011 may surpass that of 2010.

During today's meeting hosted by the Laredo Police Department, the U.S. Attorney and the police chiefs, sheriffs, constables and district attorneys of the represented counties within the Laredo Division discussed the potential threats faced by their officers and ways to prevent and protect their personnel. The discussion included encouraging all law enforcement entities to take advantage of available deconfliction services, which allow officers, prior to conducting enforcement operations, to determine if other agencies are investigating or planning to conduct enforcement operations on the same target, location, or event, thereby lessening the chance of tragic “blue-on-blue” encounters.

U.S. Attorney Moreno also shared information regarding available Department of Justice resource programs such as VALOR, a national law enforcement training and technical assistance program whose objective is to train officers to identify, prevent and survive violent encounters by establishing a culture of attentive vigilance, and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program, which provides sworn officers with bullet and stab-resistant body armor.

Today’s meeting in Laredo was the first of several meetings with state and local law enforcement officials planned in each of the district’s five divisions. Future meetings are planned for McAllen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Houston.

Following today's meeting, U.S. Attorney Moreno extended his thanks to Laredo Police Chief Carlos Maldonado for hosting the meeting and added, "I would like to personally thank each and every one of the law enforcement officers throughout the Southern District of Texas for the work they do every day to make our communities a safer place for our families to live, work and play. Every possible tool, whether it be deconfliction services, additional training and equipment or federal prosecution, should be utilized to the fullest extent possible to make certain that these same officers are able to return safely home to their families when their day is done.”

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