JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst was critical of Jackson leaders when discussing crime Monday.
Hurst put the crime problem on the shoulders of Jackson's elected officials and Hinds County judges, saying they are denying their gun, drug and gang problems.
Hurst began a problem last year called Project EJECT, working with local law enforcement to get tougher sentences for violent criminals.
Hurst now says not enough is being done at the local level to keep crime at bay.
"I think it's a critical issue to Jackson and the perception of Jackson being a safe place to live and do business," Hurst said.
Jackson ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote agrees with Hurst when it comes to addressing crime in Jackson.
"It's imperative we address the gun violence," Foote said. "There's a lot of different ways you can do that. I'm not an expert in criminal procedures but I do know the court system has to work to the benefit of the law-abiding citizens while also serving justice."
Hurst said judges are repeatedly letting dangerous criminals out on the streets.
Foote said he wants to pay JPD officers more, and that the Hinds County court system is often a revolving door.
"Policing is already the most dangerous one of the most dangerous jobs in America and if the judges continue to release the bad guys back out onto the streets over and over again, it only makes the work of the police that much harder and more dangerous to them. So I think it's important for JPD that these people get put away," Foote said.
Police Chief James Davis said he takes offense to Hurst's comment that officials are pretending there's not a crime problem.
Davis said on December 10, he formed a crime initiative using 24 federally-assigned JPD officers.
He said they’ve made 63 arrests since then, 32 of them felony arrests.
Davis will hold a press conference Thursday to discuss how he plans to keep fighting crime.