Mike Dunavant Offers Insight, Information and Inspiration
Mike Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, addressed attendees at the Collierville Chamber of Commerce’s Monthly Membership Meeting on Wednesday, September 9 at First Baptist Church of Collierville.
Prior to Dunavant’s remarks, Dr. Justin Mullins, Young Families Pastor of First Baptist Church offered an invocation and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chamber President Mark Heuberger welcomed members and called attention to the day’s caterer, Jim’s Place Grille, before introducing the guest speaker.
Mike Dunavant Oversees the Western District
Dunavant’s remarks offered a catalog of relevant information regarding both the nature of his job as chief federal prosecutor or “America’s lawyer of West Tennessee” and the areas of crime he and his team address. His office serves 22 counties of West Tennessee. They are split into western and eastern districts. The U.S. Attorney for TN, Western District is in downtown Memphis. An additional office is in Jackson that serves the eastern district. He oversees 85 employees, with 45 of them being lawyers.
The two major divisions are the Criminal Division, which focus on a wide range of federal issues, and the Civil Division, which encompasses filing suits on behalf of the federal government and defending the government against suits.
Dunavant wants to keep guns out of the hands of Dangerous People
Mike Dunavant’s job, as he has been commissioned by President Trump and William Barr, the Attorney General of the U.S., is to “reduce crime in America.” As Dunavant points out, Memphis is currently the 3rd most violent city in America, so he has his work cut out for him. He insists that crime is not inevitable and cites statistics showing the significant reduction in violent crime since the early-to-mid 1990s.
Using statistics to show how his own office is ramping up their caseload, there are several areas of specific concerns, including crimes involving firearms. According to Dunavant, a primary goal is to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people or “trigger pullers”. Also, he spoke on the federal government’s growing number of federal firearms prosecutions.
Dunavant cites that a variety of special federal operations and financial and resource assistance that benefit the West Tennessee District: “Relentless Pursuit”. This program offers monies for 50 new police officers in Memphis and additional funds for the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office. “Operation LeGend,” focuses on nine cities, including Memphis, which received resources to allow for 40 new federal agents, 24 of whom will become permanent additions to the community. Furthermore, this operation is in honor of four-year old LeGend Talifero who was shot and killed in Kansas City, MO in June of 2020.
Mike Dunavant Focuses on the Supply Side of Narcotics
Turning his remarks to illegal narcotics, Dunavant suggests that his office focuses attention on the supply side of narcotics – “the major traffickers of addiction, pain and death”. According to Mike Dunavant, the area is a major hub for the transportation of illegal substances. Due not only to its location as crossroads of two of the nation’s major interstates, I-40 and I-55, but also due to other aspects of one of the nation’s leading distribution and transportation hubs.