U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions visits Utah to commend law enforcement efforts in reducing violent crime

SALT LAKE CITY – The men and women who protect our communities received praise from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday at the state capitol.

Hundreds of law enforcement members listened as Sessions touted the success of a national program aimed at reducing violent crime called "Project Safe Neighborhoods 2.0." President Donald Trump revived the Bush era crime fighting plan that fizzled out during the Obama Administration.

“When I took office, the violent crime rate had been rising significantly. Big mistakes had been made. Some people saw police as the problem,” Sessions said.

As part of the project, federal prosecutors team up with local and state law enforcement agencies to target the most violent people in the most violent areas.

“Our goal is not to fill up the courts or fill up the prisons. Our goal is to reduce crime to make our communities safer,” Sessions said.

Ogden City is a Project Safe Neighborhoods Target Enforcement Area.

“We have a very diverse community,” said Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt.

Watt said they’re cracking down on its crime rate. According to him, a big reason is because of their real-time crime center. Analysts can pinpoint where crimes are happening and deploy resources.

“It's effective and it's working," Watt said.

U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber said Project Safe Neighborhoods is working. Violent crime dropped 8 percent in 2017 from 2016. The case involving a Provo teen who was arrested for making death threats toward police on Snapchat is just one of many examples.

“You turned back a troubling violent tide. We take this moment to applaud your efforts,” Huber said.

Sessions took the opportunity to swear in new officers and vowed to always have their back.

“It was amazing to be a part of it especially just getting out of the academy and getting ready to go out on the streets,” said new recruit Kara Hancock with Orem Police Department.

Sessions said Utah has proven to be a good investment and announced Utah will receive $262,000 for Project Safe Neighborhoods..