On May 23, President Obama announced that he had nominated Zachary Fardon to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Fardon was one of four remarkably well-qualified applicants Senator Kirk and I submitted to President Obama based upon the recommendation of our bipartisan screening panel. He will have big shoes to fill, but I know that Zachary Fardon will be an exceptional U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. His range of experience will serve him well in a city and region as diverse and challenging as the Northern District.
Confronting Gun Violence in Our Communities
When Senator Kirk and I met with Mr. Fardon last week in Chicago, we made clear that the prosecution of gun offenders and violent criminals must be one of our top priorities in the Northern District.
Over the past few months, I have visited communities across the state to hear from the folks who are on the front lines dealing with violence in our communities.
Meeting in Rockford
Earlier this year, I was joined by Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson, and others to discuss the strategies they are using to reduce violent crime in the area.
Last week, I was back in Rockford with U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos to meet with senior federal, county and local law enforcement officials to continue this important discussion.
While overall crime rates are down this year compared to 2012, a recent surge of criminal incidents has led to real fear among Rockford’s residents. I share their concern, which is why I wanted learn more about the scope of the problem and to hear directly from law enforcement officials regarding their plans to address it.
My goal is to make sure all levels of law enforcement are coordinating efforts and sharing resources and information to the greatest extent possible. Federal, state and local law enforcement working together can give the city’s residents the security and peace of mind they deserve.
Hearing from Law Enforcement in Chicago, Peoria, and East St. Louis
This year, I have also convened meetings and listening sessions with local leaders in Chicago, Peoria, and East St. Louis in order to hear from the folks who are on the front lines dealing with violence in our communities.
In January, I joined Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and police department heads from across the Chicagoland to discuss their strategies to address gun trafficking, gang activity, and violence crime.
My hometown of East St. Louis has been scarred by gun violence perhaps more than any other community in America. I have met regularly with law enforcement and elected officials to learn about the challenges they face related to gun violence and gun trafficking, and how federal resources can help.
In Peoria, I met with Mayor Jim Ardis and local law enforcement leaders to learn more about Peoria’s “Don’t Shoot” program, an innovative violence-reduction program that combines zero-tolerance policing strategies targeted at a city’s most violent gang members with increased access to employment services, housing and addiction counseling for at-risk individuals.
In all of these meetings, the message was the same: we must take responsibility at every level of government to reduce gun violence and violent crime in our communities. I am committed to assuming that responsibility, and to continue working with my colleagues in the United States Senate and at home in Illinois to address this critically important issue.
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Sent from the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin