Russell Coleman, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, will resign from the position effective Jan. 20.
The chief federal prosecutor for the 53-county jurisdiction that includes Warren and its surrounding counties submitted his resignation letter Monday to President Donald Trump and Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeff Rosen.
A one-time Logan County resident and graduate of Logan County High School, Coleman was an FBI agent until a spinal tumor ended his career with the agency.
Coleman worked in the U.S. Department of Justice under two attorneys general and has also served as legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
He was appointed U.S. attorney by Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, assuming the post in 2017 for a four-year term.
“I’m proud of the outcomes of the challenging cases we worked, and I’m hopeful we delivered justice to victims,” Coleman said in a statement Monday.
Under Coleman’s leadership, the U.S. attorney’s office expanded its presence beyond Louisville, where the Western District office is headquartered.
A Bowling Green office staffed with two full-time assistant U.S. attorneys was opened last year, and staffing was increased in the existing Paducah office.
“I think he’s been an advocate for law enforcement since he’s been in that office and certainly a voice of reason in Jefferson County during all the protests and riots,” said Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force.
Since its opening, prosecutors in the Bowling Green office have presented several dozen cases for indictment and have taken the lead in prosecuting a drug case in which law enforcement seized 40 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and seven people were charged with various crimes in the alleged conspiracy.
Loving has long pushed for the presence of a Bowling Green office to help agents build drug cases.
“During the major meth case, that was certainly the first time in 23 years that we’ve had an assistant U.S. attorney working with us in our office after dark,” Loving said. “On many occasions, prior to the office being here, we wouldn’t have had those resources available to us.”
Coleman’s travels in the district have been focused primarily on strengthening relationships among the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the area, meeting with law enforcement leaders in each of the district’s 53 counties.
In addition to increasing staffing in regional offices, Coleman has contended with a spike in violent crime in Louisville and has supported a Group Violence Intervention approach to reducing gun crime and other violence by encouraging community leaders, social service providers and law enforcement to work cooperatively to deter violent crimes committed by gangs and other street-level groups.
“We must continue to build relationships between law enforcement and communities that feel under-protected and over-enforced,” Coleman said.
Coleman also joined other authorities in condemning the violence that occurred Jan. 6 when the U.S. Capitol was breached by rioters as Congress met to certify the Electoral College results of the 2020 election won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died from injuries suffered during the storming of the Capitol.
“I hope each and every perpetrator is brought to justice, and our country can heal from this tragic chapter,” Coleman said. “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.”
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.