Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson announce launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Attorney General William P. Barr and John C. Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced today the launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit, an initiative aimed at combating violent crime in seven of America’s most violent cities – including Albuquerque - through a stream of federal resources.
At a press conference in Detroit, Attorney General Barr pledged to intensify federal law enforcement resources into Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee – seven American cities with violent crime levels several times the national average. Attorney General Barr was joined at the press conference by Acting Director Regina Lombardo of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Director Christopher Wray of the FBI, and Director Donald W. Washington of the U.S. Marshals Service.
United States Attorney John C. Anderson and Albuquerque-based federal and local law enforcement leaders announced their participation in the initiative in a press conference in Albuquerque immediately following the Attorney General’s press conference.
“Americans deserve to live in safety,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “And while nationwide violent crime rates are down, many cities continue to see levels of extraordinary violence. Operation Relentless Pursuit seeks to ensure that no American city is excluded from the peace and security felt by the majority of Americans, while also supporting those who serve and protect in these communities with the resources, training, and equipment they need to stay safe.”
“We sincerely appreciate the commitment of Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice to addressing violent crime in Albuquerque,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “Operation Relentless Pursuit comes at a time when sustained federal support is urgently needed to help all the brave men and women in law enforcement who are daily called upon to respond to acts of violent crime on the streets of Albuquerque. We stand by them, and we will continue to work to strengthen all of our existing partnerships to meet the challenges ahead.”
“The U.S. Marshals Service is proud to work jointly with our law enforcement partners here in New Mexico to bring new resources to our state and enhance our ability focus on high-crime areas,” said Sonya K. Chavez, United States Marshal for the District of New Mexico. “This initiative will also send a strong message to those who choose to repeatedly break the law. We are not going away and we will continue to work together as a community to provide safe streets and a safe environment for New Mexico families.”
“The men and women of the Albuquerque FBI Division are eager and ready to participate in this initiative not only because fighting crime is what we do, but also because we live here and care deeply about the safety of our communities,” said James C. Langenberg, Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office. “We will use the extra resources that will come through Operation Relentless Pursuit to continue to go after the violent repeat offenders responsible for much of the crime in our neighborhoods.
“Reducing violent crime in our community is a challenge that must be tackled head-on with our long standing partnership with state and local law enforcement professionals,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Monique Villegas of the Phoenix Field Division. “Through the use of innovative crime gun enforcement strategies, combined with the skill sets and capabilities of all four of DOJ’s federal law enforcement agencies allows us to focus on those communities that are victimized by gun violence.”
“The DEA is proud to participate in this important nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Kyle W. Williamson of DEA’s El Paso Division. “By working together with shared determination, law enforcement agencies can leverage their individual tools, resources and expertise to make a positive and lasting impact around the country and in our local communities like Albuquerque.”
Operation Relentless Pursuit will involve increasing the number of federal law enforcement officers to the selected cities, as well as bulking up federal task forces through collaborative efforts with state and local law enforcement partners. The surge in federal agents will be complemented by a financial commitment of up to $71 million in federal grant funding that can be used to hire new officers, pay overtime and benefits, finance federally deputized task force officers, and provide mission-critical equipment and technology.