Law enforcement officials across West Alabama are coming together to keep criminals, who they call "the worst of the worst," behind bars.
Police, sheriff's deputies, district attorneys and federal officials made the announcement Wednesday morning at the Tuscaloosa Federal Courthouse. Local officials will work with U.S. Attorneys and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents to identify repeat, violent offenders and get them into the federal court system. There, they will face federal prison and tougher sentencing guidelines.
"It has been made clear to me that federal sentencing does not give federal judges an opportunity or discretion for probation in these cases," Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Lyn Head said. "It is important to us to take this initiative to get the guns off of our streets and to make our communities a safer place in which to live."
Police and district attorneys say they are seeing more and more crimes that involve gun violence and innocent bystanders are hurt or killed. They also say officers are re-arresting the same people.
"If they're not willing to put those guns down and stop committing the crimes they're doing with the guns, we're going to find a place for them," Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said. "And that place is not going to be in one of our state facilities, but it's going to be in a federal facility. And they're not going to get probation or community service, they're going to get hard time."
Law enforcement officials say they have seen success in the past from working across multiple agencies. Anderson noted a suspect roundup in August 2013, that was made in conjunction with federal officials.
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