Cracking down on violent crime: Amarillo 1 of 10 cities selected for National Public Safety Partnership

Amarillo Police hope to crack down on violent crime with the help of a new partnership.
Amarillo Police hope to crack down on violent crime with the help of a new partnership.(kfda)
Updated: Jun. 4, 2019 at 5:34 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Amarillo Police hope to crack down on violent crime with the help of a new partnership.

Attorney General William Barr announced Monday that Amarillo is one of 10 new National Public Safety Partnership sites.

The 10 sites announced are:

  • Anniston, Alabama
  • Oxford, Alabama
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Davenport, Iowa
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Harris County, Texas

“The Public Safety Partnership is a successful program that directs federal law enforcement resources to the cities where they can have the greatest impact," Attorney General Barr said in a news release.

The initiative is part of a continued effort to fulfill President Trump’s mission to reduce violent crime in America.

It directs federal law enforcement resources to cities that have sustained levels of violence exceeding the national average and are committed to reducing crime.

“What it’s doing is building the capacity of the police department to use better strategies to reduce violent crime in the first place,” said Amarillo Police Chief Ed Drain. “So it’s going to involve us engaging. We’re going to participate in symposiums on violent crimes with other cities who have similar problems, the federal government is going to pay for us to get additional training. It doesn’t automatically guarantee that we’re not going to get grants, but as a part of this partnership, the [Department of Justice] is going to identify grants they think that we can apply for.”

Chief Drain said the department uses a uniformed crime report to determine what is property crime and what is violent crime.

He said murder, aggravated assault, rape and robbery are the four violent crimes they focus on.

So far this year, Drain said they are seeing reductions in all of those except for aggravated assault.

“I want to be clear, we don’t have people walking down the street and people are beating them up with baseball bats,” said Drain. “Most of our aggravated assaults are people who know each other, and a lot of it is related to domestic violence. A lot of them are associates, or other family members if they’re not intimate partners and those are really difficult for the police to get a handle on. Because the people know each other, they have a relationship with each other.”

Next to Amarillo Police’s Project Safe Neighborhood program, this is yet another way the department hopes to get an upper hand on violent crime.

Attorney General Barr believes the National Public Safety Partnership will help.

“Several participating cities have already seen dramatic reductions in violent crime over the past two years,” said Attorney General Barr. As we expand this program to 10 more cities across America, we are determined to replicate that success.”

Drain said the DOJ will be here in July to have a listening session with area agencies and discuss the violent crime problem in Amarillo.

After that, four APD officials will attend a violent crime symposium with cities across the nation to see how other departments deal with the issue.

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