DA takes $110K to put guns on ICE

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 6, 2004

In the wake of four shootings in the last mont, a federal grant to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office came at just the right time.

The federal Project Safe Neighborhood grant of $110,000 was given to the office of Ed Greene, district attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, for the Alabama Ice gun violence reduction program.

On hand in the federal building to present the check to Greene, U.S. Attorney David York said, &uot;The purpose of this presentation is to announce a grant of $110,000 to the district attorney of the Fourth Judicial District to assist in the fight against gun violence.&uot;

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The money comes from the Bush Administration’s Project Safe Neighborhood program for the statewide Alabama Ice program in which the fourth circuit participates. The purpose of the national and state programs is to reduce gun violence.

In presenting the check to Greene, York praised both he and Greene’s spirit of cooperation. Specifically he commended Greene’s office for showing the most improvement in the gun violence reduction program in the state. Additionally, he noted that Greene’s office had received recognition at last fall’s conference of U.S. attorneys

Joseph Fitzpatrick Jr. is the coordinator of Alabama Ice in the Fourth Judicial Circuit was on hand for the presentation.

A key factor to the success of the program in Alabama’s Southern District and the other two U.S. attorney districts in the state is the close collaboration between federal and state prosecution and law-enforcement officials in identifying and targeting the most dangerous criminals.

For example, Greene said that there are frequent face-to-face meetings of representatives of his office and York’s office during which information is exchanged and decisions made about when and where to prosecute. Green said cooperation is critical.

A fundamental aspect of the decision-making process is recognition of the differences in federal and state codes. A positive factor about the federal system is the ability to imprison convicted gun violence perpetrators without parole. On the other hand the state code allows for lengthier sentences for the same crime. But, as Greene pointed out, because of the current state budget shortfall and early release programs, a federal conviction will probably result in more time in prison.

Greene had his jaw set as he talked about the problems of the drug trade and gun violence in the area. He sees the two as related and unacceptable.

He said he is committed to getting a handle on the problem and the grant represents a major leap forward.

The funds, he said, will enhance investigative efforts.

Also it will strengthen the DA’s office in the ability to communicate through the media, jails and prisons and his ability to work cases related to violent criminals more expeditiously.

Greene summed up his indignation, and that of the community. &uot;The most dangerous thing in society is a 17-year-old with a 9 mm gun. He doesn’t know anything. His predisposition is just shoot, and he thinks he’s Billy the Kid,&uot; said Greene.

Also receiving grants this round, according to York, is the Mobile Police Department and the Escambia County district attorney’s office.

Over the next two years, York said that $1.5 million will be available for the Southern District for the Alabama Ice/Project Safe Neighborhood programs.