Dallas, Garland police get federal help in prosecuting violent offenders

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by SEBASTIAN ROBERTSON

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaasebastian

WFAA

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 5:55 PM

DALLAS — Last month, Dallas police detectives began partnering with FBI agents to investigate the city’s most violent crimes. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dallas Police Department and Garland Police Department publicly announced Thursday the formation of the Dallas Violent Crimes Task Force.

The agencies will work together to bring federal prosecution to violent offenders, meaning harsher penalties in many cases. The task force will focus its resources on the most violent crimes including shootings, kidnapping and extortion.

“Dallas police detectives with FBI agents will use a full range of contemporary tools and ground breaking investigative strategies to bring prolific violent offenders to justice,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown Thursday morning.

Dedicated officers from Garland and Dallas will work local crimes and, when they can, pass the case to federal investigators and prosecutors to try the most violent offenders at a federal level. None of the agencies have revealed the amount of personnel assigned to the task force. 

“We expect and have seen in other jurisdictions that when faced with the prospect of long sentences suspect decide to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors in return for reduced sentences,” said Diego Rodriguez, the special agent in charge of the Dallas branch of the FBI. 

In September, two teens thwarted the kidnapping of a woman near downtown Dallas. They saw a woman riding in the passenger seat of a car mouth the words, “Help me.” They called 911 and trailed the car all the way to Kaufman, where Charles Atkins Lewis Jr. was taken into custody.

The task force took that case up, Rodriguez said, and secured a federal indictment for Lewis Jr. 

“We are talking about a way where we sit back and we smartly focus on those criminals that have the greatest impact,” said U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana of the Northern District of Texas.

She added that federal cases have a higher prosecutorial success rate and there are more resources available to federal prosecutors than there are to those within counties. Federal prosecutors take fewer cases and are able to spend more time with each. 

Email srobertson@wfaa.com

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