DOJ appoints US attorney for West Michigan
The Department of Justice has announced that the interim U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan will continue to lead his office.
The U.S. District Court voted unanimously to appoint Andrew Byerly Birge to assume the role permanently after he served in the acting role since late January, when Patrick Miles Jr. resigned from his position.
Birge is tasked with working on what are identified as priorities by the DOJ, such as violent crimes, the opioid epidemic and the enforcement of criminal immigration law.
While he was the interim U.S. attorney, his office saw an increase in the number of firearm cases and defendants prosecuted by more than 65 percent, an increase in drug cases prosecuted by 30 percent and an increase in the overall number of cases prosecuted by more than 12 percent, according to Birge.
“When I assumed leadership of the office last year, I noted that I take great pride in what we do,” Birge said. “This office has remarkably dedicated and talented attorneys and staff. They are the story behind this office’s success.”
With the appointment of an additional attorney in December, Birge said his office has helped to slow the rise in the opioid epidemic by promoting a public information campaign and other outreach activities.
“I meet as often as I can with community leaders to facilitate mutual understanding and build trust in law enforcement,” Birge said. “If residents don’t trust law enforcement, we can’t succeed in making their community safer.”
Birge has been an attorney for 23 years and has been with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for more than 17 years.
He began his career as a law clerk to the late Chief U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Ensel in Kalamazoo.
He earned his law degree from the Columbia University School of Law and his B.A. from Carleton College.