News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney Credited with Innovative Leadership of Federal and Local Law Enforcement

January 25, 2007

United States Attorney John McKay completes his term tomorrow and will join Seattle University Law School as Visiting Professor of Law. After more than five years as the top federal law enforcement official in Western Washington, McKay is looking forward to working with law students and encouraging them to explore opportunities for public service.

McKay’s five year tenure as United States Attorney has been marked by a number of key initiatives designed to enhance law enforcement efforts in the Western District of Washington. McKay reorganized the office to address priorities such as terrorism, organized crime, identity theft and methamphetamine abuse. McKay initiated and lead efforts to establish Northwest LInX, (Law Enforcement Information Exchange) a critical computer network that allows state, local and federal law enforcement agencies to share information. The LInX system now connects 138 law enforcement agencies and has been instrumental in solving countless crimes.

“John McKay has provided exceptional leadership and direction to the federal law enforcement community and specifically to ICE,” said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “We are grateful for his support and commend his integrity and dedication to public service. He will be missed.”

“One of John's greatest contributions to law enforcement has been his dedication to the idea of information sharing among agencies,” said Laura Laughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. “He has been instrumental in encouraging federal, state and local law enforcement to find common ground and work rogether. The FBI has benefited greatly from his leadership and support.”

"I appreciate John McKay's ability to deal with and support the issues of local law enforcement, more than any U.S. Attorney I have worked with in the last 19 years, said Everett Police Chief Jim Scharf. “John worked hard to make the relationships with local law enforcment work because he understood the importance of local law enforcment. He will be greatly missed, and very hard to replace.”

“All of us in the criminal justice community are sorry to be losing US Attorney John McKay. He has been a strong advocate for crime victims and public safety in our communities. He has maintained his focus on the importance of accountability with those responsible for criminal activity and he has maintained a strong and positive relationship with local, state and federal law enforcement,” said Port Orchard Police Chief Alan Townsend.

United States Attorney McKay spearheaded efforts to reach out to minority communities concerned about racial and ethnic profiling following the September 11th attacks. McKay organized meetings between law enforcement leaders and leaders in the Arab-American and Muslim communities to promote better understanding and cooperation.

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske lauded McKay’s concern for civil rights saying, “The co-operation and support that United States Attorney John McKay has shown to local law enforcement and the Seattle Police Department has resulted not only in a safer community, but one in which people should feel that their civil rights are protected.”

“John McKay is and always has been the utmost professional in the perfomance of his duties as the U.S. Attorney in Western Washington. Above and beyond that, he has continually tried to do the right thing for the sake of justice. He will be missed as a law enforcement leader here in Washington,” said Special Agent in Charge Kelvin N. Crenshaw, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Under McKay’s leadership the United States Attorney’s Office has significantly improved productivity, despite declining budgets. Preliminary statistics indicated that in 2006, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged nearly twice as many defendants as it did in 2001. The prosecutions are the second highest in the history of the office, despite declining manpower. The office has established itself as a national leader in prosecuting computer crimes, identity theft and multi-national criminal drug organizations. McKay has worked to build bridges between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement to combat cross border crime, and has enhanced federal law enforcement resources in the fast growing counties of Southwest Washington.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration knows John McKay to be a superb leader who for the past five years has led an outstanding group of Federal prosecutors in targeting some of the nations most prolific drug trafficking organizations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson. “John recognized that drug traffickers are using any and all means, including the use of the latest technology, to circumvent law enforcement efforts to disrupt and dismantle their organizations. Through his outstanding efforts, the United States Attorney's Office in the Western District of Washington adapted to this evolving threat with aggressive wiretap prosecutions against the largest traffickers operating in and around the Pacific Northwest. John is a true friend to law enforcement and, more importantly, a dedicated individual who succeeded in making the communities we live in safer.”

“John McKay did an outstanding job in helping to increase federal law enforcement presence in southwest Washington during the time he was U.S. Attorney for the Western District,” said Clark County Prosecutor Art Curtis. “We are greatly indebted to him, and he will be missed.”

Prior to his appointment, McKay served as President of Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in Washington D.C. Congress established LSC in 1974 as a private non-profit corporation to ensure justice under the law for all low income Americans. From 1989 to 1990 McKay served as a White House Fellow, where he worked as Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI. Following his graduation from Creighton Law School in Nebraska, McKay was a litigation partner at Lane Powell Spears Lubersky in Seattle, and later was a managing partner at the Seattle law firm of Cairncross & Hempelmann.

United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has the authority to appoint an interim United States Attorney whose term lasts until a new United States Attorney is nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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