“They are worried about crime; worried about heroin and drugs,” Sessions said.
The drug turf wars have brought violence to the city. He referenced Clara Walker, a local grandmother of eight, shot dead by bullets flying into her home from a gun battle over drugs. Sessions said his top priority in office is the support between the federal government and local law enforcement.
“Eighty-five percent of law enforcement is state and local; they're the ones out there every day making cities safe or not safe,” Sessions said.
Attorney General Sessions will be making city visits like this every few weeks across the country. He chose St. Louis as his first non-D.C. area stop because of the FBI stats showing the violent crime up here.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson was part of a private meeting with the attorney general.
“He didn’t see money coming in, but a bigger cooperation from federal government with federal agencies, truth in sentencing,” Dotson said.
Sessions said he’s a believer in community policing and that it’s a proven crime reducer.
When asked about concerns that minorities will take a step back under his leadership in the Department of Justice, Sessions said minorities will ultimately benefit.
“I got to tell you, when you’re reducing crime, you're helping minority communities; because often times they get overlooked, we don’t have enough police in their neighborhoods protecting their streets and safety,” Sessions said.
The attorney general said he urged St. Louis leaders to never allow the city to become a safe haven for illegal immigrants.
“We've got cities in the country, ‘sanctuary cities’ they call themselves, in which they won’t turn criminals over to federal ICE officers and these people who commit crimes shall be deported,” Sessions said.