Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana’s U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich granted an exclusive interview with KGVO News on Tuesday to talk about two important issues in statewide law enforcement.

The first was a continuing grant to fund Project Safe Neighborhoods, addressing gun crime and serious violence in the Missoula district.

A Program Focusing on Violent Crime and Drug Trafficking

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a program that was created by the U.S. Department of Justice identifying communities throughout the country where they wanted to focus on violent crime, including serious gun crimes,” began Laslovich. “Here in the District of Montana, which preceded me, they identified Yellowstone County and Missoula County as our Project Safe Neighborhood programs.”

He focused on the apprehension and imprisonment of serious criminal actors in Montana.

“Identifying folks who we've learned are committing violent crime and perhaps are being elusive and so dedicating resources at the federal, state, and local level to pursue those folks and hold them accountable,” he said. “In the federal system, we have mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun crimes, in particular, drug trafficking, and then importantly, which we've discussed, there is no parole in the federal system.”

The U.S. Attorney also has a new Election Officer

Laslovich also named Assistant U.S. Attorney John Newman as the new Federal Election Officer, already an existing program which now has more importance due to the January 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.

“To the extent that there are issues, as the Attorney General has said, federal law prohibits someone threatening violence against election officials, intimidating or bribing voters, coercion, buying or selling votes, impersonating voters, and that sort of election fraud. Then John (Newman) would be the one who would coordinate our office's work when there is an allegation.”

In the Light of January 6 this Program Has a Higher Importance

Laslovich said there has been a Federal Election Officer for many years, but the office has taken on higher-visibility due to the ongoing federal investigations.

“Well, there's a District Election Officer, maybe the U.S. Attorney's Office is doing something differently,” he said. “We're not. As I said, this has been the case historically. But certainly, you're right that in light of the actions of the last election and then as we move into the election here next month on November 8, there's a little more scrutiny on us and the efforts for sure.”

To reach the Montana Federal Election Officer, call John Newsman at 406-829-3336.

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