Leaders in the community and in law enforcement gathered out at Dumont Plaza for a major crime initiative coming to Meridian.
“We’ve been doing this program for about a year in the city of Jackson, and in that first year we’ve already seen the violent crime rate reduced by 7%. So, partnering with our community, partnering with our law enforcement, non-profits, our schools—we can see a lot of good come out of this in the city of Meridian," said Southern District U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
This program, called EJECT, focuses on not only prosecuting crime, but giving criminals who wish to make a change, an opportunity. It's four main focal points are prosecution, prevention, re-entry programs, and awareness.
“They’re sitting here watching this today, and they’re saying to themselves, ‘you know what? I want to be a better example for my son and for my daughter. I want my family and my mother and my father to look at me in a different light.’ Project EJECT is offering opportunities, services, and help.”
While help is aimed to be given, making sure crimes are prosecuted and guilty verdicts are given, is also a top priority," said ATF Special Agent Dana Nichols.
“ATF’s number one priority is reducing and impacting firearms-related violent crimes. As I said during the press conference, generally, every citizen, their number one concern are the violent crimes. It’s the shootings, the murders—that’s what we focus on," said Nichols.
“I grew up in Newton county, the big city of Hickory, and came to Meridian on the weekends. I have a lot of family that lives here. It is special because this is where I did grow up," said Hurst. "I’ve seen great things happen over the last few years, but I’ve also seen violent crimes sadly tick up. So, we want to do our part and make our contribution to make our city better.”