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An Interview With US Attorney Tim Garrison: His Resignation, Service, And Next Steps

US Attorney's office

Tim Garrison, the US Attorney for Missouri's Western District, is resigning.   Garrison submitted his resignation at the request of President Joe Biden this week. The Biden administration is removing nearly all of the federal prosecutors that were appointed by former President Donald Trump, which is expected when a new administration comes to The White House. 

Garrison talked to KSMU's Jennifer Moore on Friday about the news. You can hear the interview below.

Garrison said the news did not come as a surprise to him.

"It's expected that when there is a new administration that the political appointees of the previous administration will will step aside or be asked to resign. And and that's what's happened in my case," he said.

In March of 2017, former President Trump's administration asked the remaining U.S. attorneys to resign. In March of 1993, Janet Reno, former President Clinton's Attorney General, did the same.

Garrison said it's important to remember that the only person in the office that has any connection to any political interest is the US Attorney, who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

"All of the other employees of my office—the prosecutors, the civil litigators, the support staff—those are all career employees and they stay throughout administrations as administrations come and go. Those are positions that are protected by all the civil service protections," Garrison said.

Before he was appointed as US Attorney, he spent eleven years as one of those civil servants.

"As I was considering whether to accept this appointment, one of the things that I had to do was actually sign a waiver explaining that I understood that I was leaving my my civil service career and accepting a political appointment. And that I would not be going back to that career position," Garrison said.

He said a highlight of his time in the office is the opportunity to serve with patriotic and dedicated civil servants.

"They do their job with regard to the law," Garrison said.

And he said he's particularly proud of Operation LeGend, a wide-scale enforcement effort in 2020, named after a four-year-old boy, LeGend Taliferro, who was killed in his home. 

"We had just an unprecedented spike in in violent crime, specifically gun related crime in Kansas City," Garrison said.

"With the support of the Department of Justice, we brought in 200 additional federal agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service and really just 'flooded the zone,' to to use a sports term, to arrest violent criminals, to take their illegal guns out of their hands, and and try to put a tourniquet on the bleeding," Garrison said.

Garrison said he has not yet decided what he will do next. He's a graduate of Hillcrest High School in Springfield and grew up in Greene County. He's also a graduate of the Marine Corps officer candidate school and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School. A lieutenant colonel, he served as a military prosecutor and continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves. You can read his resignation letter here