ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - Anniston and Oxford are about to get major help in fighting crime.
Both cities have been added by the U.S. Justice Department to the National Public Safety Partnership. That means the federal government and its agencies--the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, even the postal inspector--will be available to provide resources to help fight violent crime in the area for the next three years. At the end of that, a comprehensive staff will provide guidance for both cities going forward.
Anniston's and Oxford's selection, which beat out numerous other cities across the country, was announced June 3 by Attorney General William Barr. Wednesday, the partnership officially kicked off, with representatives from the federal government on site in Calhoun County.
“Today, our team is on-site in Oxford, AL, to collaborate with local law enforcement officials in their mission to improve public safety and drive down violent crime,” said Jon Adler, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance in a news release. “Through the Public Safety Partnership, we are committed to fulfilling the Attorney General’s priority of supporting local law enforcement to combat violent gangs, felonious firearms use and drug trafficking.”
The two Calhoun County cities beat out numerous other cities to make that list, which also includes cities such as Baltimore and Toledo. Birmingham is a previous member of the list.
"We look forward to working with the people in this region, and all the federal guys, even more than we already are," said Anniston Police Chief Shane Denham.
"Locally here in Oxford, we've been able to have lower crime rates over the last five years, decreasing each year. We hope to continue that not only in Anniston but also our region," said Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge.
Oxford already has the recently-opened East Metro Area Crime Center, where numerous agencies, including Anniston, work together.
The extra help from the federal government over the next three years will be in addition to that, and will ultimately end with a comprehensive report on how both cities can better fight crime going forward.