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Acting U.S. Attorney shares his efforts to help reduce crime in the Capital City

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Nearly four months ago, Darren J. LaMarca took over the reins of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to represent Mississippi’s Southern District after the resignation of his predecessor Mike Hurst.

As Acting U.S. Attorney, LaMarca will serve in the interim until President Joe Biden appoints someone to the role.

“My own personality is to listen. I have always been a person that learns more, as they say, when your mouth is closed. That’s just my nature,” LaMarca said. “And I take that to heart. And I want to learn, I want to collaborate and do the best we can.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has a role to play in curbing crime in the Capital City, too, by prosecuting certain crimes through federal channels to help put away criminals, like carjackings, business robberies and cases where felons or prohibited people have firearms.

“We are going to work with our communities as best we can, as I say where we’re a law office, but also to prosecute. And if the public wants certainty, I don’t believe there’s any better place to get it than the U.S. Attorney’s Office, especially when it comes to prosecuting crimes that over which we have jurisdiction,” said LaMarca, who’s been prosecuting cases at the federal level for more than a decade.

While Hurst and Jackson Police Chief James Davis would sometimes disagree on the other’s approach to reducing crime, LaMarca hopes that will change.

The temporary head of the office also knows firsthand the need for that federal help to be well-received as it was years ago under a different administration.

“At the time I was criminal chief, and ran those meetings, you couldn’t imagine how good it made me feel to know that [former] Chief [Lee] Vance was appreciative. And I don’t think that that was conveyed very well in the last couple years,” LaMarca said. “Not to be daunted by that; we continue to push forward, continue to seek good collaboration from the Jackson Police Department.”

Of the twenty-seven prosecutors in the Southern District’s office, LaMarca has assigned one to specifically handle Jackson cases, and can pull more in if the need arises.

He also said he doesn’t want to get burdened in the politics that sometimes come with the position.

“The ability to collaborate, the ability to be deliberate in what we do to see things from both sides, and to actually then hone down to what needs to be done. That’s the focus I want to see the office take,” LaMarca said. “I don’t want it to be anything other than why we’re here and what we came to do. And with that being said, I think most everyone in the office can sleep well at night.”

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