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Press Release

Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Launch of Operation “Relentless Pursuit”

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee
The Operation will surge federal law enforcement resources into seven of America’s most violent cities – including Memphis

Memphis, TN – Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit, an initiative aimed at combating violent crime in seven of America’s most violent cities - including Memphis, through a surge in federal resources.

Joined at a press conference in Detroit, Michigan by ATF Acting Director Regina Lombardo, DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and United States Marshals Service Director Donald W. Washington, 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.

"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."

United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant, along with federal law enforcement heads from the Western District of Tennessee as well as the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office announced participation in the initiative in a press conference in Memphis immediately following the Attorney General’s national press conference.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Reducing violent crime requires all four of DOJ’s federal law enforcement agencies to work together with our individual tools and collective determination, as well as with our state and local law enforcement partners. Operation Relentless Pursuit reflects that coordinated team approach, and this surge of law enforcement resources will have an immediate impact to reduce violent crime, gang activity, and drug trafficking in Memphis."

"The U.S. Marshals Service is proud of our long and continuing practice of being an effective partner with federal, state and local law enforcement. We look forward to continuing the tradition with Operation Relentless Pursuit," said U.S. Marshal Jeffrey Holt.

"The FBI is prepared to expand our efforts under this initiative and work with all of the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies collaboratively to address the violent crime plaguing our communities," said Special Agent in Charge M.A. Myers of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "We will combat violent crime through sustained, proactive, coordinated investigations, and combine short term, street level enforcement activity with sophisticated techniques aimed to help build successful prosecutions."

"The dedicated men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration stand ready to work closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to help rid the Memphis area of the drugs and violence plaguing our comment," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Brett Pritts, of DEA’s Louisville Field Division. "The people of Memphis deserve to live in a safe community and DEA is committed to providing it to them."

ATF Special Agent in Charge, Marcus Watson remarked "ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence partnerships as part of ‘Operation Relentless Pursuit’ focuses on the devastating impact of firearms violence and works with the entire community to deter poor choices and provide alternatives to resolve disputes."

The Operation 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 general 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.



Cherri Green
Public Affairs
(901) 544-4231

Updated December 18, 2019