New assistant district attorney will fight crime in W. Tennessee

New assistant district attorney will fight crime in W. Tennessee

(WMC-TV) – A new assistant district attorney is now responsible for locking up career criminals and gang members in West Tennessee.

Jennifer Gillis will now work with District Attorney Mike Dunavant.

"She's working directly with the US. Attorney's office in the U.S. Attorney's office in Memphis to prosecute crimes, particularly those drug crimes, felony possession crimes, violent crimes that happen in Tipton, Lauderdale, and Fayette counties," said U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton.

Her focus will be stiffer sentencing without parole.

"The big thing is when someone gets caught, they get convicted, they get federal time," said Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley. "They get twenty years, that's twenty years. That rings a bell. That gets through to the hard heads and animalistic behavior we have to put up with."

Dunavant says as the population in his district grows, so does crime.

"I will tell you, this is just the beginning. We intend to continue to use all available resources to identify and target those people in the 25th district I represent," said Dunavant.

With three recent murders in Ripley and increased gang activity in Covington, officials feel now is the time to send a strong message.

"Communities have been crying out for gangs to go away, particularly in rural counties," said Stanton.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.