LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder praised the Obama administration’s efforts to put more police on the street before a law enforcement group here Tuesday but took no questions from the audience or reporters about the aftermath of a botched gun-tracking operation.
Holder spoke at the annual conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
"We’re pleased to report that since 2009 the Community-Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, hiring program has awarded a total of $1.5 billion to create or to protect 7,000 jobs in local law enforcement," Holder told the group.
"In this year alone, the Justice Department will distribute over $111 million in grants to save or to create roughly 800 officers’ jobs across America, including nearly 200 who will be saved form layoffs and more than 600 military veterans who will be hired as new law enforcement officers," he said.
Holder also said the Justice Department is shining a light on the latest research on procedural justice.
‘We understand, as do all of you, that public confidence in the fairness of law enforcement activities and operations can increase the likelihood that community members will accept legal outcomes, that they will comply with the law and that they will even assist in investigations," he said.
The U.S. House voted June 28 to hold Holder in criminal and civil contempt after he refused to hand over documents on Operation Fast and Furious in response to a subpoena. It was the first time in history a sitting member of a president’s cabinet was held in contempt.
During the operation aimed at tracking guns to Mexican drug cartels, about 2,000 guns are believed to have passed from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms into the hands of drug dealers. Two of the guns were found at the scene of a shootout where a Border Patrol agent was killed.
Holder has called the contempt citations politically motivated.