Additional prosecutors have been assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago and will focus on fighting violent crime.
The Northern District of Illinois will get three additional assistant U.S. attorneys, according to a statement Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Central District of Illinois — which oversees the Springfield area — will also receive one.
The new prosecutors will focus entirely on violent crime, according to the statement.
Northern District U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. said he welcomed the the additional resources for his office, saying in a statement that assistant U.S. attorneys “work tirelessly to prosecute violent offenders and reduce violent crime in Chicago and throughout northern Illinois, and these new positions will strengthen those efforts.”
The assignments are part of the Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program and seeks to put 40 new federal prosecutors in districts throughout the country, according to the statement. The Northern District of Illinois and the District of Maryland received the most new prosecutor appointments with three each.
In the same news release, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was quoted as saying that he has asked Congress for additional funds for the program, which targets gun and gang crime. The DOJ has committed about $2 billion to the program since it was started in 2001, according to the agency’s website.
The program has been used to hire federal and state prosecutors and promote community outreach and support gun and gang violence reduction strategies.
“Led by our 94 United States Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Neighborhoods task forces are hitting the streets across America to apprehend and bring violent criminals to justice,” Sessions said. “I believe nothing will be more effective at reducing violent crime. Under this program, I am asking a great deal of our United States Attorneys. I am both empowering them and holding them accountable for results.”