Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to devote federal resources to combat violent crime and to shore up morale in police departments, NPR reports. “I’m already hearing from state and local people that they’re concerned about a lack of federal support and leadership” in the face of rising murder rates in some major cities, Sessions told reporters at the Justice Department. “My judgment is this is not a blip and we’re seeing, I’m afraid, a longer term trend of violent crime going up, which is not what we want in America.” He vowed more consistent prosecution of criminals who carry guns, insisting that approach will rid the streets of dangerous people responsible for a spike in violence in some major cities. “If they know they’re going to get popped, they’re going to federal court, they’ll get five years and probably get sent off” far away from their homes, Sessions added.
Sessions, who is due to speak today to the National Association of Attorneys General, said he had not read the Obama Justice Department’s scathing reports on unconstitutional policing practices in Ferguson, Mo., or in Chicago. Sessions said he had not yet decided whether his civil rights division would proceed to negotiate a court-enforceable consent decree with police in Chicago after Obama-era findings there, or abandon the effort. He repeated his disdain for drugs, including marijuana. “I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people are smoking pot,” he said. Sessions said he was studying an Obama-era memo that sets out priorities for federal prosecution in states which have legalized the drug in some form.