U.S. Attorney for Western District of Tennessee Addresses Monthly Membership Meeting

Mike Dunavant offers insight, information and inspiration and receives standing ovation

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.

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 which are divided into western and eastern districts. The U.S. Attorney for TN, Western District is headquartered in downtown Memphis with an additional office 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’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 noted, Memphis is currently the 3rd most violent city in America, so he has his work cut out for him. He insisted that crime is not inevitable and cited 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, he addressed several areas of specific concerns, including crimes involving firearms. Dunavant commented that a primary goal was to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people or “trigger pullers” and cited specific conditions under which people may not possess firearms.

He also mentioned the federal government’s increased number of federal firearms prosecutions.

Dunavant cited a variety of special federal operations and financial and resource assistance that have benefited the West Tennessee District: “Relentless Pursuit” which offered monies for 50 new police officers in Memphis and additional funds for the Shelby County district attorney General’s office, and “Operation LeGend,” named after four-year old LeGend Talifero who was shot and killed in Kansas City, MO in June of 2020. 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.

Turning his remarks to illegal narcotics, Dunavant suggested that his office focuses attention on the supply side of narcotics – “the major traffickers of addiction, pain and death.” He added that the area is a major hub for the transportation of illegal substances, not only due 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.

Dunavant completed his remarks by detailing specifics of other major areas of crime his office targets: child exploitation and human trafficking, public corruption, white-collar crimes, including fraud, internet crime, and national security and counter-terrorism. As a final point, Dunavant encouraged every individual in the audience to support their local police departments and individual officers. His speech garnered a standing ovation.

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