LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Two weeks ago, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that state, local, and federal law enforcement would be teaming up to tackle Little Rock's violence problem.
THV11 went to find out where the task force stands and when Little Rock will start feeling its effects.
People are skeptical. But the U.S. Attorney's Office, who is heading up the task force, said don't count them out yet. THV11 sat down with the Acting U.S. Attorney, Pat Harris Thursday with a long-list of questions about the newly named task force, GET ROCK: the Gang Enforcement Team.
Who all makes up GET ROCK?
"It's Little Rock, it's Pulaski County, it's Arkansas State Police, It's Arkansas Community Corrections, It's the 6th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney's Office, it's the FBI, it's the ATF, it's the DEA, it's U.S. Marshal Service, It's the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Harris.
We always hear law enforcement works together daily. How is this different?
"That's true, and you know we do work a lot with Little Rock and with Pulaski County, and all these agencies, but what we've done now is we have gotten agents, we put them together in the same building, and we said 'ok, this is what we are going to focus on: we are going to focus on gangs, we are going to focus on drugs, and violent crime in Little Rock,'” said Harris.
They've got a name, they've got a plan, so what's next?
"We have met. The leaders have gotten together and the agents have gotten together. FBI is going to take the lead on this. We've gotten together, we've got all these people and now we try to focus," Harris stated.
Harris said we've already seen their efforts at work with the arrest of Ricky Hampton, AKA Finesse 2Tymes and his body guard.
"The shooting that went down over here on 6th Street; the next day, they arrested Ricky Hampton in Birmingham. It was because the U.S. Marshal Service, the ATF, the FBI, and LRPD all focusing their attention on Ricky Hampton," the acting U.S. Attorney said.
Say there was a drive-by shooting tomorrow, who should we should expect to see respond?
"The officers who are on patrol will show up right away. Once they show up, then they get detectives involved, then they get agents involved from like the FBI, and DEA, and ATF; they'll show up. All of those people will start looking at different parts of it and start working together," Harris said.
So when are citizens going to feel a tangible effect that shows this task force isn't just lip service?
"I guarantee it isn't lip service because we've got a lot of agents doing a lot of the hard work. We have three assistant U.S. Attorneys in our office working with this task force to prosecute cases. Larry Jegley has got people over there he's read to prosecute state cases. So this isn’t' lip service. We are going to go out and get some people,” he said.
Harris warns that federal investigations take longer, so we may not see people locked up right away. But when they are, they'll be charged federally, which means no early release and no parole.
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