DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Kentucky

For Immediate Release

Friday, December 18, 2020

To Combat Highest Level of Violent Crime in City’s History, DOJ Awards $400,000 to Support New Gun Prosecutor in Louisville

U.S. Attorney Further Strengthens Partnership with Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney to Reduce Murders & Shootings

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – United States Attorney Russell Coleman is pleased to announce $400,000 in Department of Justice funding to hire a special prosecutor to try federal firearms cases originating in Louisville, Kentucky. The first of its kind award, one of only 13 in the country through DOJ’s Project Guardian, supports violence reduction efforts in Louisville along with the federal carjacking task force, greater ATF and FBI engagement with LMPD, and the roll-out of the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) approach.

“We must bring a sense of urgency to the historic levels of slaughter and wounding that has been 2020 in Louisville, with this innovative new prosecutorial model for targeting trigger pullers doing just that,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “Today’s announcement results from a growing partnership with one of our Commonwealth’s most thoughtful and experienced prosecutors, Tom Wine, and allows us to further draw upon the talents of a dedicated public servant like new Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Porter. Lives will be saved because of it.”

“Keeping its citizens safe is the primary responsibility of government,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Cities plagued by violent crime need the resources to tackle it, and these grant awards will help do that. On the enforcement side, Real Time Crime Centers will make policing more efficient and targeted; and on the prosecution side, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys will help bring more federal firearms cases to justice.”

A grant to the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will support the hiring of a full-time local prosecutor who will be empowered to try firearms cases in federal court. Prosecuting gun crimes is central to the Justice Department’s strategy under Operation Legend and other violence reduction initiatives led by the Department. These efforts follow a sustained, systematic and coordinated approach to gun violence in which federal law enforcement agencies work closely with state and local officials to fight violent crime. Funding comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs.

“Russell Coleman learned of a unique opportunity in the Spring of 2020 to fund a position at his office using a state prosecutor. I was excited by the prospect of the Office of the United States Attorney and the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney to further collaborate as we deal with the scourge of gun violence and drug trafficking in our community,” said Jefferson Co. Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine. “In June when we learned our offices would be one of only 13 in the United States to be awarded a Project Guardian grant, we immediately sought out applicants for this position.”

In a ceremony today, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua Porter was sworn-in as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. Porter has been employed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney since 2014. He was promoted to the Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Division in 2018. Porter previously served in the United States Army as an Armored Cavalry Officer serving two combat tours in Iraq. He was awarded a bronze star and purple heart.

“Josh has already served our county and community on numerous levels,” Wine continued. “His service in the United States Army as an Armored Cavalry Officer included two combat tours in Iraq, where he was twice recognized for his bravery. Upon returning to civilian life he enrolled at the Brandeis School of Law. His achievements in law school included the Robert W. Zollinger Award, named for an outstanding prosecutor who served in our office in the 1960’s and 70’s. After law school, Josh worked at the office of the Jefferson County Attorney. Since October 2014 he has worked at our office and has served as the deputy division chief of the Narcotics Unit.

“While we will continue to pursue alternatives of treatment for those addicted to drugs, those who use guns and violence to perpetuate their drug trafficking must be swiftly and strongly prosecuted,” Wine said. “This enhanced collaborative effort will help us identify the offenders that are driving violent crime rates in the most violent areas of Metro Louisville. It will ensure prosecution of those offenders in the federal courts. Our Commonwealth’s prosecutors will identify those qualifying offenders for Josh and the other Assistant United States Attorneys and our federal law enforcement partners such as ATF. I am grateful for the continuing efforts of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to protect our citizens and make the best use of our resources.”

“This Justice Department award will go a long way toward combatting the recent, and unacceptable increase in violent crime across Metro Louisville,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Field Division. “ATF looks forward to the addition of a special prosecutor in our mission to reduce gun violence in our communities. Arresting and successfully prosecuting these armed violent offenders and their sources, is a shared commitment with local, state, and federal law enforcement.”

Project Guardian is a nationwide program launched in November 2019 by Attorney General William Barr as a complementary effort to the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program (PSN). Project Guardian uses existing gun laws to comprehensively attack gun violence through the aggressive enforcement of existing laws in an effort to incapacitate the most dangerous and violent offenders.


Louisville Field Division