LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Russell Coleman, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, announced in a statement Monday that he is stepping down.
Read the full statement below:
“Today I submitted my resignation to the President and Acting Attorney General, effective January 20. For a guy whose childhood dream job as an FBI Agent ended early due to a spinal injury, serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer in the place I love, and for the people I’ve known all my life, has been a humbling honor.
I leave this office with gratitude and awe.
Gratitude for the statesmanship and friendship of Senator McConnell who recommended me for this position, to Senator Paul who supported me, and to the White House for the opportunity.
Awe at the gravity of the mission of protecting the families of our West Kentucky district, and of the caliber of the committed public servants of YOUR United States Attorney’s Office. Cynicism abounds regarding government institutions, but we are so fortunate to have good and talented people staffing both this office and serving in federal law enforcement in our Commonwealth.
I traveled to each of the 53 counties in our district seeking ways to be a more responsive partner to business & community leaders, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, sheriffs, and police departments of all sizes. To better protect South Central Kentucky and collaborate with law enforcement partners in the region, we opened a Bowling Green Office for the first time ever. We also increased our staffing in the Paducah Office to more effectively serve our geographically immense district that stretches well beyond Jefferson County, running from Prospect to the Purchase. I’m proud of the outcomes of the challenging cases we worked, and I’m hopeful we delivered justice to victims.
I am forever grateful to Assistant U.S. Attorneys, agents, officers, deputies, and troopers who keep us safe, and are insufficiently lauded for their work. From combatting historic levels of bloody violence in Louisville to child predators in Paducah, and from fighting the torrent of Mexican-produced meth pouring up I-65, to our relentless pursuit of justice for Officer Jason Ellis and Crystal Rogers in Nelson County, West Kentucky lawmen/women are among the very best in the country.
I deeply regret we ran out of time to achieve justice for the families of Officer Ellis and Ms. Rogers during my tenure, and I urge the next Administration to prioritize these active and ongoing investigations. I am also plagued by the loss of life we grieved this year: violent crime took the lives of 173 Louisvillians in 2020 alone, with 572 wounded non-fatally. That’s hundreds of devastated families struggling with this trauma in the midst of a global pandemic. Louisville cannot be complacent about this spike in violence, or 2021 will bring more lost sons like Austin Fitzpatrick, and lost baby girls in Disney coffins like Trinity Randolph.
We must also continue to build relationships between law enforcement and communities that feel under-protected and over-enforced. While our new strategy of Group Violence Intervention (GVI) will not cure all that ails us in Louisville, it will help establish trust, which is the first step toward healing. This approach has worked for decades in cities large and small, and if we deploy GVI the right way, we can put a stop to the senseless deaths of young Black men and women.
Finally, I share in the sentiments of my fellow U.S. Attorneys around the country who were shocked, appalled, and saddened at the violent mob that stormed our Capitol on January 6th, resulting in deaths and multiple injuries, including fallen heroes from the United States Capitol Police. I hope each and every perpetrator is brought to justice, and our country can heal from this tragic chapter. Law enforcement is not a partisan calling, and to be clear, I stand at the ready to be helpful to my successor in any way.
Our Commonwealth has much to be proud of in the strong timber of Kentucky law enforcement, but we must never stop listening and striving to achieve a fairer and more effective justice system. It’s not “happy talk” to say that our men and women in blue, brown, or gray are the finest in the nation, and I am deeply grateful that God afforded me the privilege of being amongst them for a season.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Monday offered high praise for Coleman, calling him his best friend.