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Thursday, July 18, 2024

New attorney positions aims to prosecute more on federal level in Indianapolis

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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, U.S. Attorney Zachary Myers and IMPD Chief Randal Taylor speak at a 2023 press conference where the attorney positions were announced. (Katrina Pross/WFYI News)

Indianapolis has hired the first of three attorneys whose jobs will be to prosecute more people on the federal level for violent crimes.

Nate Walter is named Marion County’s first Special Assistant United States Attorney, or SAUSA.  The positions were created last year to investigate and prosecute violent crimes in Indianapolis through a partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal crimes often carry higher penalties, defendants can be denied bail and may serve more of their sentence in prison.

The Indianapolis City-County Council unanimously approved $225,000 in funding for the move last summer.  The attorneys are part of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s strategic plan to reduce and prevent violence.  The plan also includes increased pay for IMPD officers and community-focused grants.

The attorneys will target serious violent offenses with a focus on guns including illegal trafficking, repeated violation of federal firearms laws, and the unlawful use of the emerging firearms.

“Bringing the full weight of federal prosecution to bear on serious violent crimes in our community is a critical piece in our efforts to continue improving public safety and saving lives,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett in a statement.

The city is still looking for two more attorneys to serve in this role.

Indianapolis, like other cities, saw a spike in violent crime following the pandemic. The city used $150 million in American Rescue Plan funding to fuel its violence reduction plan announced in 2021. Homicides have been trending down over the past two years in Indianapolis.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org.

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