Federal law enforcement, police, and clergy team up to try to address violent crime nationwide

WASHINGTON D.C. — Just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol, police officers, federal agents and clergy members are examining an issue that touches all of them - violent crime.


“When there are fewer police, when police have less direct relationships with communities, crime and violence escalates,” said Rev. Markel Hutchins, President and CEO of MovementForward Inc., a national non-profit organization focused on protecting, promoting, and advancing human and civil rights.

This effort is part of the National Faith and Blue weekend to improve relationships between police and communities.

Rev. Markel Hutchins from Atlanta is one of the organizers. He said he wants Congress to provide more funding to help address the rise in crime.

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“A shift in policy alone is not the answer alone. We need a shift in culture and the Congress and the federal govt must invest more in communities being able to engage on a human level with the people that protect and serve them,” he said.

This also comes as the Gun Violence Archive tracks more than 530 mass shootings this year. One of the most recent incidents happened at Morgan State University in Maryland.

But on Capitol Hill, some House Republicans are pushing legislation that would repeal every gun safety law passed between 2021 and 2022.

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In response to gun violence, the Justice Department recently announced more than $4.4 billion in grants for community safety programs at the state and local levels.

Federal agencies like ATF work with local police departments. Agents from the DC Field Office say they also want to find more ways to interact with communities before crime happens.

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“The first time people see us is when we’re coming out for an arrest, search warrant or something like that so that can have a negative image of the first time they came to the community so we want to balance that with some outreach and community involvement and engagement,” said Craig Kailimai, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington, D.C. Field Office of the ATF.

Last year, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This law provides money for school security, mental health resources and for states to pass ‘red flag’ laws.

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