Kirk Announces Successful Effort Boosting Federal Funding to Combat Gangs of National Significance
Calls on Department of Justice to Prioritize Illinois in 2014 Spending Measure
CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) joined today with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and area members of law enforcement to announce a successful effort increasing resources to fight gangs of "national significance" in the recently passed 2014 federal spending bill. Sen. Kirk successfully secured $18.5 million to help law enforcement in Illinois and throughout the nation combat dangerous drug gangs, capping a more than six-month effort to boost funding.
"Illinois leads the nation in per-capita gang members, and it is time the federal government steps up and provides our local police with the assistance they need to stop violence," Senator Kirk said. "Last November, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made a commitment to provide Chicago with additional resources to crack down on dangerous drug gangs. Last week, the Congress delivered with more funds for law enforcement and federal prosecutors. Eric Holder has acknowledged what we all know – that we cannot turn a blind eye to the death of innocents and that we must take real action to prevent further victims of violence. Now that these funds are law, I will work with the Department of Justice to follow through on their promise to bring Illinois the needed resources to keep our communities safe."
Sen. Kirk was joined by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Kendall County Sheriff Richard Randall, North Chicago Police Chief James Jackson and Waukegan Police Department Sgt. Edgar Navarro. Federal resources can make a huge difference in gang enforcement. The Waukegan Police Department used more than $800 thousand secured by Sen. Kirk over three years to make 871 arrests, seize 146 guns and confiscate thousands of drugs.
"Senator Kirk has laid out a strong proposal to make violent crime a priority in our federal budget and enforce the laws we do have on the books," said Superintendent of Chicago Police Garry McCarthy. "Federal resources can be a significant help to local law enforcement agencies, and Senator Kirk’s budget package is a serious statement of support for our cops throughout this state."
Crime and the murder rate fell in 2013 in the City of Chicago, with 88 fewer murders compared to 2012, and a 16% overall crime decrease. Despite these gains, there is more to be done to provide law enforcement additional federal resources. Additionally, Chicago is the only major city in the United States to rank in the top 5 for the four major drugs distributed by Mexican cartels, including ranking number 1 in heroin, number 2 in both cocaine and marijuana and number 5 in methamphetamine.
Below is a breakdown of law enforcement resources included in the 2014 omnibus appropriations act:
$18.5 Million to Fight Gangs of National Significance
- $7.5 million for U.S. Marshals Service to operate anti-gang investigative units using their Regional Fugitive Task Force network. Chicago is home to the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lake Regional Task Force Headquarters.
- $8.5 million for Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction account (Project Safe Neighborhoods) under State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, “aimed at reducing homicides and gun-related violence crime in communities overwhelmed by gangs of national significance, and illegally trafficked and purchased guns.
- $2.5 million in Gang and Youth Violence Education and Prevention in the Office of Juvenile Justice Programs.
Report from DOJ on its strategy to combat gangs of national significance, including best practices for arresting and prosecution large gangs and most effective prevention and intervention techniques.
Report focuses on gangs of national significance that are “linked across the country and internationally to trafficking drugs, guns, money and humans” and “include violence street gangs.”
Lifts hiring freeze at FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorney Offices.
- ATF: Total funding of $1.179 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year’s funding to reduce violent crime and enforce firearms laws. Includes funding for “Violent Crime Impact Teams” which “focuses law enforcement’s attention on areas plagued by gang violence.” Includes updating and expanding the National Integrated Ballistic Imaging Network.
- FBI: Total funding of $8.343 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent over the previous fiscal year. $60 million increase to expand the existing capacity of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearm purchases.
- DEA: Total funding of $2.018 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the previous fiscal year.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Total funding of $214 million, an increase of 2 percent from the previous fiscal year.
State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance (includes JAG Byrne Grants): Total funding of $2.274 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous fiscal year.
US Attorneys: Total funding of $1.944 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous fiscal year.