Alan Hanson, the top Trump administration official at the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), is moving to the Transportation Department.
Hanson will be replaced by Laura Rogers, a former San Diego prosecutor who now directs DOJ’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office).
SMART is a major component of OJP, which administers grants to state and local criminal justice agencies. OJP also includes other major Justice Department agencies, including the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
OJP has been a central player in the ongoing dispute over federal grants and “sanctuary cities.” The Trump administration wants to prevent many grants from going to jurisdictions that do not support the administration’s tough stance against illegal immigration. The issue is being fought out in court.
Hanson sent news of his departure to fellow employees in an email, calling it “bittersweet news” that he was asked by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to serve as her deputy chief of staff.
Hanson’s last day as Acting Assistant Attorney General is Friday. In his departure message, he cited his agency’s accomplishments in the last eighteen months “to strengthen our violence reduction programs, improve officer safety, enhance victim services, and support critical public safety needs, such as combatting the opioid crisis.”
DOJ has not made a formal announcement of the change. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General, but the administration has not nominated anyone for the position. Several key DOJ positions have not been confirmed by the Senate.
Rogers leads the administration of standards for states under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and oversees $15 million in annual grants. She was the founding director of the SMART Office when it was established in 2006.
Before taking that job, Rogers served on the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2011–15, where she worked on the revision of the Catholic Church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Rogers began her legal career in 1988 as a prosecutor for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, where she spent more than a decade specializing in the prosecution of child homicide, including shaking baby syndrome and child sexual abuse. In 1999, she joined the National District Attorneys Association’s National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, where she handled a variety of issues involving child abuse cases.
The departing Hanson joined DOJ shortly after President Trump was inaugurated after 17 years working on Capitol Hill. He had been working principally for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), now chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Before assisting Shelby, Hanson was legislative director for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), for whom Hanson has been working since Sessions became Attorney General under Trump.
Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington Bureau chief of The Crime Report.