Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Attorney General Carr. I am so glad to join you and Georgia’s wonderful First Lady here in Atlanta. I am especially thrilled to be here with the Justice Department’s third-ranking official, Claire Murray. I’ll have the privilege of introducing her in just a moment.
I want to thank First Lady Kemp and her terrific staff for hosting us today, and for their incredible warmth and hospitality — which is, of course, second nature to the people of this great state. I am also glad to be joined by two fantastic federal prosecutors — Bjay Pak and Charlie Peeler, the United States Attorneys for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia. I’m so glad they were able to be here today, and so grateful for the amazing job they do to protect the citizens of their districts.
The Department of Justice traveled to Georgia today to share some exciting news about federal investments we’re making in the safety of Georgia’s communities. Our terrific Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General will have the honor of sharing the news in just a moment. But I would like to take a minute to set the stage, if I may.
My office, the Office of Justice Programs, is one of three grant-making agencies in the Department of Justice. The COPS Office and the Office on Violence Against Women are also part of the Department’s funding operation. Collectively, our job is to support law enforcement officers, victim service providers and professionals in every part of our nation’s criminal and juvenile justice systems — to help them do the incredibly vital work they do, every day, to keep Georgians, and all Americans, safe.
Our work covers every aspect of public safety and touches on every major issue of crime and justice. One issue in particular that is of paramount concern to our Attorney General is the horrific crime of human trafficking, which has, sadly, made its mark here in Georgia. Human trafficking is a vicious global — and I would add, very profitable — enterprise that has infiltrated even the smallest American communities. This is not a distant problem for another country to deal with — it is a serious threat to public safety right here in Georgia and throughout our nation.
The Department of Justice has been working hard to make sure state and local officials have the resources they need to meet this challenge. We are supporting task forces that connect law enforcement officers and victim service providers, so that police can track down perpetrators, identify victims and give survivors the services they need. In fiscal year 2018, our task force grantees initiated more than 2,500 investigations. And in a one-year period from mid-2017 to mid-2018, grantees providing victim services reported serving almost 9,000 clients, including scores of survivors right here in Georgia.
We don’t pretend that federal funding alone will make Georgia’s communities safer. That job falls to the brave men and women who enforce the law. And it falls to amazing service organizations that work every day to bring healing and relief to victims. But we do believe that this funding will make a difference, and we are making a pledge today that we will continue to provide the support that these courageous and compassionate professionals need and deserve.
We are already working on new grant solicitations for this fiscal year, and we will have them posted on the grants.gov website over the coming months. I am particularly excited that, in the next few weeks, we will be issuing a solicitation to fund housing assistance grants for victims of human trafficking. I encourage all of you to be on the look-out for that and for other funding opportunities from the Department of Justice.
In the meantime, I am so grateful to the fantastic leaders and crime-fighters here in Georgia for working so hard on behalf of the people of this state. We are proud to be your partners.
It is now my privilege to introduce one of the distinguished members of the Justice Department’s leadership team. As the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, Claire Murray is the Justice Department’s third-ranking official. I have the great fortune of working closely with her to align our grant activities with the Attorney General’s public safety priorities. She has a remarkable record of public service. She has served as Counselor to Attorney General Barr, she was a Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to the President and she clerked for two of the current Supreme Court justices. She’s a good friend, an outstanding attorney and an exceptional leader who cares deeply about the safety of America’s communities. Please welcome Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Claire Murray.