Acting AG Matt Whitaker praises federal crime crackdown at conference in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The U.S. Justice Department is prosecuting more violent lawbreakers in response to President Donald Trump's order to crack down on crime.

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told hundreds of law enforcement professionals Thursday at the Project Safe Neighborhoods Conference being held in KC that he's proud of the campaign.

Whitaker claims in the last fiscal year, the feds have prosecuted more violent criminals than in any other year on record. And Whitaker said U.S. Attorneys will break that record again this year.

Part of the reason why: More federal prosecutors.

Whitaker said the justice department has more than 6,000 prosecutors on the payroll, the largest number in the history of the department.

More are focused on Project Safe Neighborhoods, the federal campaign to reduce violent crime.

"Here and across America, in Kansas City and Des Moines, Miami, Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles, P-S-N is making us a better investigative organization," Whitaker said. "We are better at investigating crime, targeting prosecutions against the worst of the worst and preventing and deterring crime. It's making our lawyers and our officers more effective."

Whitaker cited a recent example in Kansas City called Operation Washout.

In less than three weeks, federal marshals and police arrested 56 known gang members or repeat violent offenders. They also seized 13 firearms and drugs, including methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Kansas City also is home to a new federal Midwest Crime Gun Intelligence Center, which uses technology to connect evidence from different crime scenes and identify assailants.