us_virginislands_flag_web.jpgCHARLOTTE AMALIE — Gov. John P. de Jongh is requesting that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives return after a four-year absence to help fight a rise in crime.

De Jongh says he wants to give federal agents peace officer status in the U.S. territory so they can help enforce local laws. A government statement said ATF agents also are needed to help local officers trace illegal firearms. The ATF pulled its agents out in 2008 after local police charged one of its officers in a fatal shooting following his intervention in a domestic dispute. A judge threw out the case on a technicality.