A group of Senate conservatives is calling on President Joe Biden to fight the nation’s violent crime wave by deploying all available resources to American cities across the United States.
In a letter sent on Wednesday, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) are asking Biden to deploy as many federal resources as possible to fight a violent crime wave that is gripping cities with skyrocketing homicides and assaults.
“Rampant crime is not inevitable — tough law enforcement can stop it,” Blackburn and Hagerty write. “But that requires a commitment to law enforcement.”
Most notably, Blackburn and Hagerty note recent cases in Memphis, Tennessee where 34-year-old kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher, a mother of two young boys, was kidnapped and murdered allegedly by convicted felon Cleotha Abston.
In a separate case last week, 19-year-old Ezekiel Kelly was arrested in Memphis after he allegedly carried out seven shootings that left four Americans dead. Kelly is said to have live-streamed the shootings on social media.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) September 14, 2022
Blackburn and Hagerty urge Biden to open federal grant programs through the Justice Department that would go directly to law enforcement units fighting violent crime along with reviving former President Trump’s “Operation Legend” program, which deployed federal officers to cities to assist in violent crime arrests and investigations.
“Take the measures that are at your disposal right now … in order to get the crime situation in our cities under control,” Blackburn urged Biden in a press conference.
The letter states:
At a minimum, your Administration should immediately take the following actions:
The Department of Justice should maximize the resources devoted to prosecuting felons in possession of firearms under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and fully utilize the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), and the 15-year mandatory minimum sentences it carries, including by hiring more Assistant United States Attorneys dedicated to prosecuting these cases. This is a critical means of getting dangerous, repeat offenders off the streets, and more prosecutors would make a huge difference in Memphis, according to city officials, by allowing the local U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute more of the many federal firearms offenses that occur there each year. [Emphasis added]
The Department of Justice should revive Operation Legend, which was initiated by the Trump Administration in 2020 and named for a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a stray bullet in Kansas City. This Operation deployed federal law enforcement officers in nine major American cities to help state and local law enforcement partners combat violent crime. From July to December of 2020, under Operation Legend, over 6,000 arrests were made, including approximately 467 for homicide, more than 2,600 illegal firearms were seized, and over 17 kilos of fentanyl were seized. In Memphis, this Operation resulted in 266 arrests, with 124 individuals charged with federal crimes of violence or narcotics. [Emphasis added]
Relatedly, the Administration should provide substantial federal grant funding to state and local jurisdictions that must be used to hire more law enforcement officers and provide retention bonuses to those who continue to work tirelessly to protect their communities, as well as to acquire the necessary resources and equipment to fight violent crime. This funding should not be accompanied or limited by anti-law-enforcement constraints. Recent attrition among law enforcement agencies around the country has been well-publicized, and we cannot allow a lack of resources to be an impediment to combating the ongoing crime wave. Whether to fund the police should not be a difficult question, and as President of the United States, you should firmly and clearly denounce the individuals and groups who continue to push defund-the-police rhetoric and stand in the way of additional federal funding to support state and local law enforcement officers. [Emphasis added]
The Administration should stop wasting federal taxpayer dollars on jurisdictions that refuse to utilize basic public safety tools to prevent dangerous offenders from returning to the streets and reoffending, including jurisdictions that ignore the law and refuse to prosecute or seek jail time for serious crimes and jurisdictions that have curtailed the use of bail and pretrial detention, thereby allowing criminals to immediately return to the streets and resume their criminal activity. [Emphasis added]
The Administration should secure our southern border to prevent the endemic drug and human trafficking and criminal violence traveling across it. In 2021, a record number of Americans (107,622) died of drug overdoses—in large part fueled by fentanyl that is being trafficked across the border—and our border was open to a record-setting degree, with border crossings setting an all-time record (more than 2,000,000), though this record is on pace to be quickly eclipsed in 2022. It is well past time that your Administration stop ignoring and denying this national security crisis, which fuels a drug trafficking and violent crime crisis across our country, to prevent hundreds of thousands more tragic and preventable American deaths and the crime wave that accompanies them. [Emphasis added]
Blackburn and Hagerty also announced the introduction of the Restore Law and Order Act “to increase resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to help them in combatting violent crime.”
“Our bill will establish a federal grant program to hire more police officers and detectives focused on violent crimes such as rape, murder, and carjacking,” Blackburn said. “… [I]t will increase resources to target drug crimes and funding for state law enforcement agencies.”
A recent mid-year survey shows that violent crime across American cities increased by over four percent in the first six months of 2022. Compared to 2019 crime rates, some cities have seen a doubling in murders and a 36 percent increase in aggravated assaults.
In just the first six months of this year, Atlanta, Georgia has seen homicides jump 20 percent while murders in New Orleans, Louisiana have increased almost 40 percent. Cities in Texas, Maryland, Arizona, and Colorado are all seeing higher murder rates this year compared to the same time last year.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.