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Hogsett has high hopes for 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph H. Hogsett visited The Brazil Times Wednesday to discuss his office's goals for 2012. [Order this photo]
After a banner 2011, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph H. Hogsett said he hopes 2012 would be even better.

On Wednesday, Hogsett visited The Brazil Times to discuss the office's 2011 accomplishments.

He also explained the office's 2012 goals, saying they could be achieved with continued cooperation between his office and local law enforcement and prosecutors.

"The level of cooperation from local and federal officials is really starting to pay dividends," Hogsett said.

Last year, Hogsett announced the prosecution of violent criminals who "illegally possess guns in our community," was the highest priority.

In March 2011, Hogsett discussed the measure, saying the "initiative represents a comprehensive district-wide strategy to combat drug traffickers and criminals who use and carry firearms in their illegal activities through improved local collaboration and aggressive federal prosecution."

In the nine months since the announcement, Hogsett said the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) saw an increase from 14 felony possession firearm charges in 2010, to 103 in 2011.

He added drug trafficking indictments increased more than 100 percent in 2011, and drug trafficking seizures increased "seven-fold," when compared to the 2009 numbers.

"We were extremely pleased with the results," Hogsett said.

He added even with the additional initiative, the office did "more with less," and actually reduced its overall spending levels from the year before.

Hogsett said VCI efforts would continue in 2012, hoping to build on the results.

"Working together with law enforcement here in Clay County and across the state, we're making progress with this initiative," Hogsett said. "The more outreach we do to what is going on in Clay County, the more help we can be.

"We're committed to working with local officials."

Hogsett said his office would also continue to make law enforcement safety, public corruption and white-collar fraud high priorities as well.

He said the nation saw a 23-percent increase in the number of gun-related law enforcement fatalities last year, including the death of Terre Haute Police Department Officer Brent Long.

Hogsett noted six individuals involved in the Long death have been prosecuted at the federal level.

"Our policy on attacking law enforcement is very simple: Zero tolerance," he said. "It doesn't matter if you pull the trigger or simply help the individual that does, you will be held responsible for your criminal acts."

Hogsett stressed cooperation between his office and local officials is crucial.

"The closer we are to local leadership, the safer the community is going to be," he said.

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