U.S. Attorney visits county, pledges support to county law enforcement


U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett was in Switzerland County last Thursday meeting with law enforcement officials on new initiatives designed to fight crime on all levels and use his office to put criminals away for longer sentences.

Attorney Hogsett met with Switzerland County Sheriff Roy Leap and Vevay Police Chief James Richards and discussed how local law enforcement may be able to have charges filed against criminals on a federal level – a strong weapon against violent crime and criminals.

“There may be instances where local law enforcement may see it as an advantage for our office to file charges,” Attorney Hogsett said. “There are many positives to that for our citizens. If convicted of federal charges, for example, a criminal has to serve at least 85-percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole. At the state and local level, most criminals get two days credit for each one day served, and there are other ways of reducing the sentence.”

The attorney said that in March his office announced a joint federal-local collaboration that focuses on drug trafficking and also on individuals who misuse firearms by involving them in illegal activities.

“Here in Vevay and throughout Switzerland County, I have asked police and prosecutors to help identify the ‘worst of the worst’,” Joe Hogsett said. “Those offenders with criminal histories who cycle in and out of local jails, and decide who among those repeat offenders should be prosecuted under federal law for offenses that make the defendant eligible for stiffer sentences.”

Sheriff Leap said that his department has turned offenders over to have charges filed federally, noting that it has been successful in getting criminals off the streets while offering a big deterrent to others who may be involved in criminal activities.

While here, the U.S. Attorney reaffirmed a commitment that his office will continue to:

– Prosecute more gun crimes than ever before and increase efforts to identify and vigorously prosecute in federal court violent, repeat offenders, especially those who misuse guns to further their illegal activities.

– Increase the use of law enforcement and prosecutorial tools, including court-authorized wire taps, undercover and covert operations, surveillance, search warrants, and use of the grand jury to develop the best possible cases.

– Actively utilize federal drug laws and federal gun laws for the “worst of the worst” to allow for pre-trial detention and stiffer sentences.

– Aggressively employ a multi-agency law enforcement approach to investigate, arrest, and aid in the prosecution of these violent, repeat offenders and gangs. Federal law enforcement partners include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; and Homeland Security Investigations. Most of these agencies will have task forces while include local and state law enforcement officers.

– Offer training to all law enforcement officers on the evidence necessary to maximize successful federal prosecutions.

– Help find the financial support necessary to aid in sustaining local crime fighting efforts.

– Commit the personnel necessary to prosecute individuals who illegally posses guns, drugs, and narcotics trafficking and gangs.