The Fight Against Gun Crime In Las Vegas
Amid the flood of headlines reporting the latest horrific gun violence in our country, United States Attorney Nicholas Trutanich recently committed to take the lead for Nevada in the Department of Justice’s announced reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).
“Project Safe Neighborhoods is one of the most effective crime prevention tools in the Department of Justice’s toolshed to reduce violent crime” said Trutanich during a recent summit of law enforcement officials from throughout the state. He was absolutely correct.
In the early 90’s, my colleagues and I initiated a program that was, essentially, Project Safe Neighborhoods. This was a time that PSN was but a twinkle in the eye of President George H. W. Bush’s DOJ, so we were well ahead of the curve.
Consequently, Attorney General John Ashcroft recognized our office during his keynote speech at the very first Project Safe Neighborhoods national conference in Philadelphia, in 2003. I received an award for my efforts.
As is apparent, PSN was a resounding success in Las Vegas – for a time. It’s demise in Nevada is another story, for another day…
More on Leadership
….but… have you ever heard of a federal agency abandoning a city due to a conflict with their supposed advocates, the federal prosecutors? Well, the United States Senate has.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen Charles Grassley (R-KS) was appalled to hear that ATF all but abandoned its Reno office due to the conduct of the supervisor of the U.S. Attorney’s Office branch there.
This was, as far as I know, completely unprecedented, and a 180 degree turnaround of the relationship my colleagues and I had established with ATF in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
Grassley called then U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden and the Reno supervisor on the carpet. “As a result (of the breakdown), the Reno ATF office has effectively been idled”, he wrote.
The Director of ATF, B. Todd Jones, was also sucked into the vortex.
Ernesto Diaz, the Resident Agent in Charge (RAC) of the Reno ATF office was constrained to seek a transfer out of Reno as a result of the mess.
“Over the course of the last several months, it has become apparent that Fahami has intentionally misrepresented numerous issues regarding ATF agents in Reno to numerous law enforcement agencies in Washoe County as well as the District Attorney’s Office,” Diaz wrote in his transfer request…these inaccurate, false and slanderous allegations have had a devastating effect on ATF agents’ careers in Reno” alleged Diaz.
A more glaring example of poor leadership would be difficult to find.
So it is fantastic news that DOJ, and Mr. Trutanich, have committed to combating violent crime in Las Vegas by firing up PSN again – and the morale of the office as well.
But while U.S. Attorney Bogden has been fired (twice) what has become of the Reno Assistant U.S. Attorney at the center of this debacle?
She’s still there.
Footnote: I left the Vegas office in 2003. When I retired from DOJ (Northern District of California) in 2013, ATF Director Jones was still around. I’d done a lot of work with the agency on gang, drug, and gun crime during my tenure in NorCal. Jones was appreciative. Quite a contrast.