Mississippi law enforcement agencies will work with the FBI on a new statewide gun violence program to combat violent crime.
The FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office recently announced that the state’s local law enforcement would be cooperating with federal forces in their Violent Gun Reduction and Interdiction Program (VGRIP).
Police officers with the Jackson Police Department will work with FBI field agents to reduce violent crime, according to a statement from the Jackson Field Office of the FBI.
Clay Joyner, USAO for the Northern District of Mississippi, said the program is a response to increasing violence across the country since the pandemic began.
“As we all know, there’s been an increase nationwide in violent crime over the past roughly two years,” Joyner said.
Local agencies are turning to VGRIP to obtain federal resources to combat the increase in crime.
Jermicha Fomby, the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge in Jackson, Mississippi, said that law enforcement is expanding the VGRIP in Southhaven due to its location and significant population.
“Also, just geography with the connection to Memphis, where there has been a spike in violent crime,” Fomby told Fox 13. “We are engaged and prepared to address these issues as they arise,” the special agent said of the increase in crimes.
The VGRIP program focuses not just on arrests but on prosecuting violent crimes involving guns. Officers will specifically target crimes such as possession of illegal firearms, possession of firearms by felons, armed robberies and armed carjackings.
United States Attorney Darren LaMarca said that local law enforcement cooperation is crucial.
“The additional manpower these metro area law enforcement agencies bring to VGRIP cannot be overstated. The residents of Jackson and its surrounding communities will benefit from this support. We at the United States Attorney’s Office will prosecute those cases brought to us by VGRIP to deter, punish and prevent the next act of violence,” LaMarca stated.
Local departments across the state will also assist in the effort, including the Byram Police Department, Reservoir Patrol, Simpson County Sheriff’s Office, Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, Rankin County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgeland Police Department, Alcohol Beverage Control of the Mississippi Department of Revenue, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.