Federal agents will soon be knocking on doors in some of the more violence-prone neighborhoods of Cleveland. They will be asking questions and hoping for willing cooperation in their attempt to assist the city in reducing gun violence.
The multi-agency effort is being called “V-GRIP” or Violence Gun Reduction and Interdiction Program. It will involve the work of the Cleveland Police Department, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the U.S. Marshals, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Probation Service, Ohio Adult Parole Authority and the Ohio Highway Patrol.
Mayor Frank Jackson announced the group this week and said that rising gun violence within the city drove the decision to pull in other agencies. The program is expected to roll out in coming weeks and it will target the “worst of the worst.”
Jackson said about the growing gun violence, “Guns are readily available, guns are more powerful and guns are in the hands of younger and younger people.”
The agencies will be working together in investigation stages and to help build “larger criminal cases of gun trafficking” to be prosecuted within the federal courts. Local officers will also receive additional training about search and seizure issues and report writing, to shore up their practices and make resulting cases more likely to stick.
Often cases are dismissed because evidence is found to have been seized in an illegal search. The 4th Amendment which protects citizens against illegal searches and seizures is a frequent issue in criminal cases and something all law enforcement officers could use a refresher on.
The Feds will be doing what’s called “knock and talks” around the city, hoping to get a positive reaction from residents willing to share information about crime in their neighborhoods. FBI agents have reportedly had success with this method in other Ohio cities including Youngstown where they say it has had positive results.
Federal and state criminal charges are quite different. The majority of criminal cases seen throughout the state are handed down by the state of Ohio. Federal cases are far rarer, though possible.
When you are accused of violating laws regarding weapons in Ohio, a criminal defense lawyer is there to ensure you are treated fairly within the criminal courts. If you are facing charges, contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help.