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New D.C. U.S. Attorney Ron Machen Comfortable in the Streets

D.C.’s new U.S. Attorney Ron Machen says he’s comfortable on the streets and in any environment. That may help a guy who heads up a U.S. Attorney’s Office that not only handles federal cases but local crimes as well.

Ron Machen Jr./doj photo

Ron Machen Jr./doj photo

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Then-U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder sat on the sofa of his fifth-floor office 13 years ago and listened to the young lawyer tell him what needed to change: Prosecutors spent too much time in their offices and the courthouse, and not enough time in the community.

Ronald C. Machen told his future boss in a job interview that they needed to have a regular presence throughout the District by attending community forums, meetings in church basements, youth summits and the like. Waiting until a crime is committed, Holder recalled Machen telling him, was too late to develop relationships.

“He had such fully formed ideas,” said Holder, now the country’s attorney general. “He knew that it wasn’t enough to just show up at a crime scene, but to be there to explain what the office was about in non-stressful times. He had a vision then, and now his time has come.”

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