WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced a new initiative to combat violence and bolster public safety by promising federal resources to help 12 cities strategize on the best ways to fight crime.
"Turning back the recent troubling increase of violent crime in our country is a top priority of the Department of Justice and the Trump administration, as we work to fulfill the president's promise to make America safe again," Sessions said Tuesday.
The initiative called National Public Safety Partnership, comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's February executive order on public safety.
According to the Justice Department, the initial 12 cities are that ones need "significant assistance" in combating "gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence."
"I expect them to prioritize violent crime cases, identify the most violent people in their jurisdictions and work with their state and local counterparts to take them off the streets," Sessions said. "To support their efforts we will hire 300 more assistant United States attorneys who will serve on the front lines in your districts."
The 12 cities are:
- Birmingham, Ala.
- Indianapolis, Ind.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Toledo, Ohio
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Buffalo, N.Y.
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Jackson, Tenn.
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Lansing, Mich.
- Springfield, Ill.
More cities are expected to be announced in the coming months, the Justice Department said.
Sessions told a room full of law enforcement officials at the National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety a special emphasis will focus on the opioid epidemic, in particular Fentanyl, which can cause breathing issues and even death in the smallest amounts and can be purchased over the internet.
Police Executive Research Forum Executive Director Chuck Wesler says, "You can get a small envelope of Fentanyl that can literally give out thousands of doses. It's coming from China and the heroin is coming from Mexico. The purity is low and the price is high. I think that dynamic is going to change. We haven't seen this epidemic peak yet."
Law enforcement say they must act soon because as the epidemic reaches its peak, many more people will lose their lives.