Tim Garrison is a bit of an anomaly as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Since the late 1980s, the seat has been held by Kansas City lawyers.
“It’s important to remember the Western District of Missouri is a big area geographically. It’s more than just the city of Kansas City,” says Garrison, who was appointed as a Springfield native. “That’s a point I made throughout the nomination process.”
Garrison serves as part of the federal executive branch, and he’s tasked with executing the “principals and priorities of the president’s agenda.”
“We’re obviously sworn in to enforce the law and protect the Constitution. Within that comes a lot of discretion as to what the priorities of your office will be during the time you have the privilege of leading it,” he says. “We do receive a lot of influence from Washington, but we’re also the people with boots on the ground.”
Garrison’s office has a top priority of national security, followed by the reduction of violent crime and interstate, international drug trafficking.
“According to FBI crime statistics, Missouri has three of the top 15 most problematic cities on a per capita basis in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield,” he says.
Garrison was approved by the U.S. Senate in April 2018, three months after then Attorney General Jeff Sessions had appointed him. Working out of the U.S. attorney’s Springfield office in Hammons Tower on a weekly basis, he oversees a staff of 130. That includes 65 assistant U.S. attorneys covering 66 counties.
Garrison brings 10 years of experience as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Currently lieutenant colonel serving in the reserves, Garrison has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Southern California, when he was an active duty Marine, he recalls finding out one of the street names for methamphetamine was “417.”
“That was, frankly, a source of embarrassment for me that we were known throughout the nation for that purpose,” says Garrison, who now oversees a district where meth continues to be the most frequently trafficked drug.
Since that time, there’s been a shift as states “wised up” and made it more difficult for people to purchase pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth, he says.
“Even though we’re about as far away from an international border as you can get, border security is of vital importance,” Garrison says.
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