U.S. Department Of Justice Recognizes Ogden Police Chief For His Work With Targeted Project Safe Neighborhood Area | USAO-UT

SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Department of Justice is recognizing the leadership success of Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt in the city’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Target Enforcement Area. Each year, the Department of Justice recognizes outstanding efforts to restore safety in communities through annual PSN Achievement Awards.

U.S. Attorney John W. Huber presented the Outstanding Individual Contribution to the PSN Program award to Chief Watt Tuesday in Ogden.  PSN is a critical piece of the Department’s crime reduction efforts.  Generally, the awards are presented at a national ceremony.  However, with the pandemic, local presentations are being done this year.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah has been one of the highest performing offices in the PSN initiative for almost 20 years, using the initiative goals to reduce violent crime in Utah communities. PSN, which fosters using local solutions to solve local problems, focuses investigation and prosecution resources on those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities.  It also promotes partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct. For example, 255 cases PSN cases were filed by federal prosecutors in 2018; 215 in 2019, and, as of November, 169 in 2020.  

The U.S. Attorney’s Office nominated Chief Watt for the award in recognition of his decades of leadership in law enforcement and his efforts to lead a PSN targeted enforcement effort in Ogden, partnering with federal law enforcement agencies.

Chief Watt was the architect of a program to develop a Targeted Enforcement Area (TEA) in Ogden.  He selected a 4.86 square mile area, located primarily within Ogden, for enhanced targeted enforcement.  The TEA initiative started in April 2018 with support from DOJ PSN grants.  Partners adopted a zero tolerance position for anyone committing firearms or narcotics violations in the targeted area. Offenders are screened for federal or state prosecution as a part of a coordinated prosecution strategy.  The federal cases are often prosecuted by Weber County Attorneys cross-designated as Assistant U.S. Attorneys. This partnership and geographic surge of resources has resulted in a significant reduction in Type 1 crimes.

“Chief Watt deserves this high honor for his efforts in the Target Enforcement Area.  His forward thinking leadership in defining and targeting a specific area, combined with his willingness to partner with the PSN program and federal law enforcement, has made the TEA the success is.  His success in crime suppression and prevention has made Ogden a model for other cities to use in addressing violent crime issues,” Huber said today.

As a part of the Ogden TEA initiative, 181 firearms have been seized.   The firearms include one grenade launcher, 128 pistols, 15 revolvers, 23 rifles, and 14 shotguns. These are firearms no longer in the hands of criminals in the community.

Huber said prosecutors have even heard from offenders, arrested as a part of the initiative, promoting a crime-prevention mantra:  Don’t get caught in the Box. 

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