U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis Announces Progress in Making our Communities Safer through Project Safe Neighborhoods
This Week Marks the One-Year Anniversary of the Revitalized PSN Program
BOISE – One year ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which Attorney General Sessions has made the centerpiece of the Department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN focuses federal, state and local enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
“We have the greatest impact by directing our resources on the most violent people and places in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis. “Law enforcement partnerships are identifying those who drive violent crime and are bringing them to justice. My office is committed to using all available tools to help fight against violent crime in Idaho.”
Idaho’s PSN program has been successful because of the enforcement efforts at all levels of government. “Federal prosecutions of violent offenders are but one piece of our PSN program,” U.S. Attorney Davis said. “Capable county prosecutors across Idaho are successfully prosecuting violent offenders at a remarkable rate. Together, we are working toward the common goal of reducing violent crime.”
Strong, lasting partnerships at all levels of law enforcement led to two very successful enforcement programs in the Treasure Valley. Approximately thirteen years ago, the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force was created. “Metro,” as it is known, is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Homeland Security, Boise Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Caldwell Police Department, Nampa Police Department, Meridian Police Department, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and Idaho Department of Probation and Parole. Metro works in conjunction with the Treasure Valley Partnership’s Gang Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA). The Gang SAUSA is a Canyon County deputy prosecutor who is cross-deputized to prosecute cases in federal court. The Gang SAUSA focuses on working with Metro and prosecuting violent offenders and gang members in federal court. Through these combined efforts, a large number of guns are removed from the community and dangerous offenders are removed from our streets.
The Gang SAUSA program was so successful that, in 2016, the Eastern Idaho Partnership created a similar program in eastern Idaho. That program has been well received by federal, state and local law enforcement in southern and eastern Idaho. “We think it’s a model program for jurisdictions similar to Idaho,” Davis said.
“I wish you could see our PSN task force meetings,” said Davis. “At the table with me are representatives from the state Attorney General’s Office, the Ada and Canyon County Prosecutor’s Offices, sheriffs, police chiefs, the Idaho Department of Correction, and the Twin Falls police. We are all working toward the same goal using our unique resources to do so.”
Under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Davis, federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement have identified methods of overcoming common hurdles to combating violent crime. To make those ideas a reality, the U.S. Attorney’s Office created committees to address specific subject matters. Together, federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement will identify ways to root out Idaho’s most violent offenders, as well as methods of relaying the harms of violence and guns to our local communities.
Also, Idaho’s PSN program continues to conduct community outreach and law enforcement training. In January of this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office conducted a training on the Characteristics of Armed Persons for local law enforcement. In addition to providing key information to law enforcement on how to identify armed persons, these trainings strengthened relationships between federal, state, and local law enforcement–a key component of PSN. The office also works to enhance the safety of refugees in our community by training those who serve refugees in Idaho, including resettlement agencies, on combating violent crimes and civil rights violations.
Finally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is excited to announce that the University of Idaho will join its PSN program to administer funds allocated by Congress to serve the PSN goals, which funds will go to state and local law enforcement. These funds will be used to help make Idaho a safer place.
“PSN is a great program with a proven track record for making Idaho a safer place,” Davis said.
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. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in October 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed 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.