Fox Valley Man Sentenced to 14½ Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Firearm Possession and Fentanyl Trafficking
Two years ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Throughout the past two years, the Department of Justice has partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. According to FBI’s 2018 Crime in the United States Report released recently, the violent crime rate decreased for the second consecutive year, down 3.9 percent from the 2017 numbers.
“The revitalized Project Safe Neighborhoods program is a major success,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “It packs a powerful punch by combining advanced data with local leadership, further reducing violence in communities across the country and improving overall public safety. U.S. Attorneys continue to focus their enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals and work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal police. The Justice Department’s relationships across the board have never been stronger.”
United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger explained that throughout the past year, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has continued to prioritize reducing violent crime through partnerships with law enforcement, local organizations and community members, especially in its PSN focus area of Milwaukee. Remarkable progress has been made in the City of Milwaukee. As of September 30, 2019, compared to the same time in 2017, homicides are down 22% and non-fatal shootings are down 30% in the City of Milwaukee.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods reflects a widespread commitment by stakeholders—law enforcement, local organizations, and community members—to provide the security necessary for our neighborhoods to flourish,” said United States Attorney Krueger. “We are working together to focus enforcement efforts on the most violent individuals who cause most of the problems. Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI, DEA, and ATF are working closely with local law enforcement to bring impactful prosecutions.
Particular credit is owed to Chief Alfonso Morales of the Milwaukee Police Department for adopting cutting-edge practices like the Shoot Review process. We know enforcement efforts alone cannot solve the problem, so PSN also promotes prevention and reentry efforts. We are on the right track: Milwaukee has seen a dramatic decrease in violent crime since 2017.”
United States Attorney Krueger also highlighted some of the District’s PSN actions over the past year:
Representative Enforcement Actions in PSN Focus Area of Milwaukee
On February 4, 2019, Deon Batton was sentenced to 12½ years in prison after he pled guilty to committing five armed robberies in Milwaukee and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. His co-defendant, Laura Walton, was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison after she pled guilty to committing five armed robberies and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. This case was investigated by the FBI’s Milwaukee Area Violent Crimes Task Force, the Milwaukee Police Department, and the Milwaukee County District Attorney Investigator’s Office. https://go.usa.gov/xV7zR
Representative Enforcement Actions in Other Parts of the Eastern District of Wisconsin
In addition to efforts to prosecute the violent offenders, district-based police and prosecutor teams work with community organizations to restore properties to their highest quality, assist residents and business owners in creating and enforcing positive neighborhood norms, and create neighborhood crime-reduction plans focused on prevention of gun violence.
PSN includes federal grants to promote crime-reduction strategies. As was recently announced, a PSN grant has been awarded to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Milwaukee to help create a Community Victim Witness Program that will provide services to victims of firearm-related violence.
PSN is also focused on positive prisoner reentry, which consists of regular face-to-face call-ins of individuals aged sixteen to twenty-six who recently were released from local, state, or federal correctional institutions. Notification sessions are organized and facilitated by community-based agencies that provide trauma-informed and healing-focused care to those involved in the criminal justice system. The program ensures connections to critical assistance and support to the returning offenders and community resources and services. Additionally, “Employment Expos” were organized in Milwaukee and Racine in order to introduce agencies that work with reentering individuals to employers who may be interested in hiring such individuals.
Improvements to Community Safety
These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department, in 2017, as part renewed its focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods.
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