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Archive for May 26th, 2022

ATF Nominee Dettelbach Makes Case for Leading the Agency

Steve Dettelbach testifies before a Senate committee. Photo: U.S. Senate

By Steve Neavling

President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF, Steve Dettelbach, pledged to leave politics out of the job during a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, just two days after a mass shooting at an elementary school shooting in Texas. 

“Politics can play no role in law enforcement. None at all,” he said, according to CNN.

“I worked under Republican administrations, and I worked under Democratic administrations as a federal prosecutor and I have lived that credo and I vow to continue to do it because people need to have confidence that people in law enforcement’s only agenda is to enforce the law – and if you’re at the ATF to catch the bad guys and protect the public,” he added.

In his opening remarks, Dettelbach addressed the rise in violent crime. 

“We face many threats to public safety, both new and old,” Dettelbach said in opening remarks. “Violent crime is increasing, firearms violence and mass shootings are increasing, hate crimes and religious violence are increasing, as is violent extremism. If confirmed, I promise to do everything I can to enforce the law, to respect the Constitution of the United States and to partner with law enforcement to protect the safety and the rights of innocent and law-abiding Americans.”

Dettelbach called the school shooting “unimaginable.”

The ATF has been without a permanent leader since ATF Director B. Todd Jones led the agency from 2011 to 2015. 

After the hearing, the White House said in a statement that it’s critical that the Senate approve Dettelbach to head the ATF. 

“After being vacant for seven years, it’s never been more important to have a tough, experienced, leader like Steve Dettelbach at the helm of ATF to support the agents risking their lives on the front lines every day to protectthe American people. And as we saw with the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo – where ATF agents have played a key role in the investigations – and with daily gun violence plaguing too many of our communities, now is the time to provide ATF the leadership it needs to redouble its work to enforce our gun laws and make our communities safer.”

Dettelbach was confirmed by the Senate to serve as attorney for the U.S. District Court in Northern Ohio, a position he held from 2009 to 2016. He launched an unsuccessful campaign to serve as attorney general in Ohio in 2018. Since then, he has worked in the private sector for BakerHostetler. 

Heads of FBI, Homeland Security Issue Statements Following School Shooting in Texas

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued statements Wednesday following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. 

Here is Wray’s statement:

“Yesterday we got the news we all dread. Parents received calls that are too devastating to even fathom. And a community, really the whole nation, was shaken by another horrific mass shooting. This time—once again—at an elementary school full of young children just days away from finishing the school year.

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to the entire community in Uvalde. I know you’re experiencing unimaginable pain and trauma. The entire FBI family feels your heartbreak and stands with you. There will certainly be more we learn about this heinous attack in the days ahead, and I know the American people—and especially the people of Uvalde—are looking for answers.

“I want to acknowledge the heroism of all law enforcement who responded immediately to the scene. For our part, the FBI will continue to work around the clock with the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Uvalde Police Department; and our other state, local, and federal partners to assist in any way we can. We’re dedicating the full resources of the FBI San Antonio Field Office and a host of other FBI Divisions to helping the Texas DPS and Uvalde PD, which have the lead in the investigation.

“On top of that, we’ve deployed national resources, including investigative and analytical support, evidence response and laboratory personnel, victim services professionals to assist families of the victims, and crisis management and behavioral analysis units.

“We’re absolutely heartbroken about yesterday’s tragic events and committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the Uvalde community as we begin to try to move forward.”

Here is Mayorkas’ statement:

“No words can come close to comforting the families of those lost in Uvalde yesterday. We at the Department of Homeland Security are horrified by this callous act of violence. We grieve for the families and loved ones of the children and teachers lost, and with the people of the community of Uvalde. We are hopeful for the full and fast recovery of those who suffered injuries.

“We are grateful for the courageous members of our Border Patrol, many of whom are part of the Uvalde and surrounding communities, who immediately responded to the scene along with local and state law enforcement. Without hesitation, they put themselves between the shooter and students to end the bloodshed and administer medical aid. Without question, their heroism yesterday saved lives. A Border Patrol Agent was injured in the crossfire yesterday and we know the loss and trauma from this tragedy will continue to impact many other CBP families for a long time to come.

“The Department will continue coordinating with federal, state, and local partners and offering our full support to the Uvalde community. As we pray for the families and loved ones and recognize the bravery of frontline law enforcement personnel, we must redouble our collective efforts to make our communities safer.”