Authorities in Springfield look to crack down on crime

Published: Nov. 4, 2019 at 10:21 PM CST
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There's a new combined state, federal, and local effort to combat violent crime in Springfield.

Local and federal authorities are teaming up to create a new task force unlike anything we've seen before.

State and federal prosecutors are partnering on a separate initiative to keep us safe.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said, "It's all interrelated. All those things come together with the ultimate goal of keeping people safe, taking bad guys off the streets so that you don't have to worry about them."

"We're going to go after the bad guys and we're going to put them in jail. People deserve to feel safe," said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

Local, state and federal authorities are working on new ways to increase our safety.

"The FBI approached me and said that we'd like to give you agents to work in your agency, to assist you with violent crime and see what cases we might be able to take on the federal level," explained Williams.

The 'Career Criminal Task Force' will be made up of two FBI agents and four Springfield Police detectives will focus on a list of repeat offenders to bring them up on up federal charges with harsher prison sentences.

"I don't people to get the idea that all of the sudden we're bringing in more resources because there's more going on. We still have the same things we've been dealing with for the past couple of years but this will allow us to maybe address those in a more comprehensive manner," said Williams.

"This is part of our larger effort to work with law enforcement agencies, to work with local police officers," said Schmitt.

His office started it's 'Safer Streets Initiative" in Southwest Missouri at the end of summer.

"We're the first AG's office to partner with the U.S. Attorney's Office. Tim Garrison's been a great partner to work with on this," he said.

The goal is to work with the feds to prosecute crimes also at a federal level.

"We're going to stay at it. We're just getting started. Hopefully we can be part of the solution," he said.

Williams said, "Anything we can do to work together and make people feel safer certainly is worth our while."

Springfield Police will also get some additional equipment, thanks to the Springfield Police Foundation.

The state attorney general's office says 16 indictments have been handed up since the Safer Streets Initiative has been active in the Ozarks.