U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank Announces Progress in Making our Communities Safer through Project Safe Neighborhoods
Portland, Maine: 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 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 year, we have 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.
“PSN is a proven program with demonstrated results,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies that have proven effective over many years, which includes being targeted and responsive to community needs. I have empowered our United States Attorneys to focus enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in their districts, and directed that they work together with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to develop tailored solutions to the unique violent crime problems they face. Each United States Attorney has prioritized the PSN program, and I am confident that it will continue to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities.”
U.S. Attorney Frank said, “Since 2002, PSN Maine has been a highly effective, anti-violence initiative through which my office has fostered significant partnerships with state and local law enforcement and community stakeholders.” As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the revitalization of the PSN program, here are some highlights of our PSN efforts over the past year.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance recently announced that a grant award of about $126,800 was made to the Maine Department of Public Safety to fund programs within the PSN Maine’s mission. A request for proposals is expected to be made this fall. Selected grantees will receive funding to support two to three year grants.
With the reinvigoration of PSN Maine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office formalized a strong partnership with state prosecutors’ offices and local law enforcement through the creation of a liaison program. Each district attorney’s office in Maine has been assigned a federal prosecutor to serve as a liaison for purposes of case referral and collaboration on violent crime reduction strategies.
- On May 16, 2018, Erick Adams, 40 of Taftville, Connecticut was sentenced to 25 years in prison for distributing crack, cocaine and heroin, and being an armed career criminal in possession of firearms. The investigation was conducted by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FBI, the Biddeford Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-me/pr/connecticut-man-sentenced-25-years-drug-conspiracy-and-illegal-possession-firearms
- On April 26, 2018, Michael Gaudette, 36, of Hiram, Maine was sentenced 100 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. On May 10, 2017, the Maine State Police seized from Gaudette three assault rifles, a shotgun and a handgun, three of which were loaded. Gaudette had prior felony convictions for attempted robbery, burglary, escape, possession of narcotics and conspiring to deliver articles to prisoners. The investigation was conducted by the Maine State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-me/pr/hiram-man-sentenced-more-eight-years-being-felon-possession-firearms
- On January 18, 2018, Jonathan Gardiner, 31, of Glenburn, Maine was sentenced to 100 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms. On November 13, 2014, Penobscot County Sherriff’s Office deputies went to Gardiner’s Glenburn residence in response to the discharge of a firearm. Gardiner fled from the deputies and disposed of a 9 mm pistol. Deputies seized a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun hidden above Gardiner’s bedroom. Gardiner had prior felony convictions for burglary, aggravated assault, theft by unlawful use of property and drug trafficking. The investigation was conducted by the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, the ATF, and the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory. Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-me/pr/glenburn-man-sentenced-100-months-prison-unlawfully-possessing-firearms
Improvements to Community Safety
- The FBI’s official crime data for 2017 reflects that, after two consecutive, historic increases in violent crime, in the first year of the Trump Administration the nationwide violent crime rate began to decline. The nationwide violent crime rate decreased by about one percent in 2017, while the nationwide homicide rate decreased by nearly one and a half percent.
- Preliminary information for 2018 gives reason for optimism. Public data from 60 major cities show that violent crime was down by nearly five percent in those cities in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period a year ago.
These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of 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 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.