PEORIA — Federal prosecutors in Peoria will be growing their numbers.
The U.S. attorney's office for the Central District of Illinois will get one additional prosecutor to handle violent crime cases, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday.
The new position is one of 311 assistant U.S. attorneys being added throughout the country. A total of 190 of them will be assigned to violent crime cases; 86 will be civil enforcement prosecutors, with many of them targeting the nation's opioid crisis; and 35 attorneys will handle immigration cases.
The U.S. attorney's office for the Central District, which covers 46 counties in Illinois, is headquartered in Springfield and also has offices in Peoria, Urbana and Rock Island. Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the local U.S. attorney, said there are 30 assistant U.S. attorneys employed across the four offices. The new position has been designated to go to the Peoria office. It'll likely be four to six months before the position is filled, she said.
“I would like to thank the attorney general for the additional resources dedicated to the protection of the citizens of central Illinois,” U.S. Attorney John Childress said in a statement. “With the help of our law enforcement partners, we will continue to work together to promote the safety and interests of those citizens.”
The Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, will get six new assistant U.S. attorneys — four to concentrate on violent crime and one each for civil enforcement and immigration. The Southern District of Illinois will get two new positions — one for violent crime and another for civil enforcement.
"Under President Trump's strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis — and today we are sending in reinforcements," Sessions said in a statement. "... I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime fighting partnership. This addition of new assistant U.S. attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades."