Savannah mayor says gun crime should be city’s top priority

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 3:01 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:18 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson addressed questions Wednesday about the agreement the city has reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The memorandum outlines the appointment of a special assistant U.S. attorney to help deal with gun violence in the city. This, as the search for a new Savannah Police chief is underway.

Mayor Johnson says he wants prosecution of gun crimes to be a number one priority for the city, and he feels that this memorandum is the best way to do that.

The memorandum creates a position of a special assistant U.S. attorney for a 2-year period. The city will pay the attorney’s salary. Living and travel expenses are covered by the U.S. attorney’s office. The attorney will work on violent crime matters.

Mayor Johnson says this was an easy decision to make.

“It’s a no brainer. If we want something to be done about illegal guns in our community, I think our community has made it absolutely clear. We have to be able to do everything we can, as I said I’m not going to let gun crime be the narrative in our city, and I’m going to commit to doing everything I can to ensure our city is safe,” he said.

Safety was a big topic of Wednesday’s news conference, as the search for the city’s new police chief continues. Mayor Johnson says the city is hosting focus groups this month and an online survey to learn the community’s priorities in this search.

“Ultimately, it has to be a person that’s good at it all and does it all well. We know it’s a very tough city. It’s a very tough position in a tough city,” Mayor Johnson said.

Soon to be two positions filled - all with the goal of curbing gun violence in the city.

Mayor Johnson says it could take around six weeks to get someone in the special assistant U.S. attorney position. They must go through a federal vetting process.

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