U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder made a brief visit to Savannah last Wednesday to meet with city officials to discuss ways the federal government can partner with Savannah’s fight against crime.
Holder met with Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson, District Attorney Meg Heap, Savannah-Chatham County Police Chief Willie Lovett and U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Ed Tarver. At that meeting issues of crime including gun violence and repeat offenders were discussed.
When asked about local gang issues, U. S. Attorney Ed Tarver stated “the Feds target the worst of the worst. He also addressed steps being taken to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally disabled.
In the midst of the recent shootings around the country, Holder stated that he has to get out of Washington, D. C. and get into the neighborhoods and communities. He made a visit to Macon earlier on Wednesday and has plans to travel to other cities across the country.
Holder also spoke about President Obama’s comprehensive plan on gun control which included executive orders and legislation proposals. “We think of this as something that is not a Savannah problem, it’s an America problem. I am here as a representative of the federal government to come up with ways in which we can help our fellow citizens deal with these issues,” said Holder.
Officials discussed the availability of federal grants that could provide the city revenue to hire additional police officers. Police Chief Lovett said his office would do research for those grants. “Usually those grants provide short term funding for additional officers, then the city would take on the long term funding” said Lovett.
Recognizing that tourism is 40% of the city’s revenue, Holder stated “I know that you all want to make sure that tourists feel safe and that they can enjoy all the wonders of this city”.
Mayor Jackson expressed her appreciation for U. S. Attorney General Holder and his visit to Savannah. She plans to continue the dialog with Holder when she visits Washington, D. C. for the League of Cities conference.