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Attorney General Barr Visits Cleveland, Hints At Funding For Police

U.S. Attorney General William Barr told Cleveland law enforcement officials Thursday that there may be money coming for drug and violent crime operations. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
photo of US Attorney General William Barr

The federal government is considering spending more on crime fighting task forces in Northeast Ohio, according to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Under Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s first attorney general, the Department of Justice began a crackdown on violent crime. It has continued under Barr, with programs like Project Safe Neighborhoods and the newly unveiled Project Guardian.

“Crime is half the level it was back in 1992,” Barr told local law enforcement officials at a roundtable at Cleveland Division of Police’s Third District Station. “And I think it’s largely because of the cooperation of the federal government with our state and local colleagues.”

During Thursday’s meeting, the attorney general wouldn’t say for sure if more funding is coming to Cleveland. But he did say past successful violent crime task forces in the region make it more likely Northeast Ohio will receive funding.

After Barr’s remarks, Cmdr. Gary Gingell said one potential use for federal funding would be to expand the RAVEN Task Force, which targets small groups of violent offenders in Cleveland.

“It’s a dangerous job and they do it well,” Gingell said. “We want to grow that into another squad.”

Barr also held a short, closed-door meeting with law enforcement before leaving the Third District station.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.