ATF Agents Reassigned to Phoenix Police Unit

The Phoenix Police Department says it needs more manpower to fight the increased number of kidnapping and home invasions in the city. But last month, Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris was reassigned due to an investigation into alleged inflated kidnapping statistics by the department. Why would police fudge those statistics? To qualify for a $1.7 million federal grant.

The ATF has recently come under heavy criticism for its reverse stings, particularly those involving guns ending up in Mexico.

So what happens? The ATF teams up with the Phoenix Police. Six ATF agents have been permanently assigned to the Phoenix police Kidnapping and Home Invasion Unit. [More...]

They supplement 10 detectives assigned to investigate violent crimes frequently associated with the drug trade, increasing their ability to bring defendants to face state or federal prosecution. Police and federal authorities believe the merger of manpower and expertise will help them handle a large number of kidnapping and home-invasion cases more efficiently.

This week, several defendants were sentenced to federal prison terms from a 2009 ATF sting. ATF agents set up a plan to storm homes using armed guards and offered the defendants a chance to participate. When they showed up, they got busted.

Defense attorneys in particular argue that those operations add up to entrapment and that investigators are more concerned with padding arrest statistics than they are with targeting hardened home-invasion crews.

District Judge Susan Bolton seemed influenced to an extent by Sedillo's comments. Bolton noted that the ATF's goal was to take down people engaging in home invasions but asked if there was any evidence that federal agents had accomplished that goal in this operation.

Many defense lawyers view the ATF in drug cases as the poor-stepchild of the DEA. Here's one very illustrative example. As a defense lawyer said during one of the Phoenix sentencings this week:

"The charges are very serious in nature, but at the same time, they brought in the 'B' team."

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    Dishonorable Po Po? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Yes2Truth on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 08:41:11 AM EST

    What else is (not) new?

    Police - n., an armed force for protection and participation.

    Yet another example of (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 08:44:49 AM EST
    the bureaucratic imperative (or, as some call it "the Bureaucrat's Prime Directive") at work:  "always act in such a way as to justify the continued existence of  your job.  When possible, act in such a way as to expand your budget and your job."

    If the Republicans were serious about cutting budgets, they could start with defunding ATF.

    Since the vast majority of (none / 0) (#3)
    by beefeater on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 11:34:01 AM EST
    home invasions and kidnappings involve coyotes against illegal migrants in their drop houses I recommend putting a halt to the whole effort. Let them sort out their own problems.

    And I Recommend We... (none / 0) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 01:12:48 PM EST
    ... stop policing your neighborhood and let you figure it out because you are obvious competing with rocks to see who has the higher IQ.

    Smart money is the rocks.