Attorney General Jeff Sessions gestures while speaking at the National Association of Attorneys General annual winter meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The U.S.’s new top law enforcement officer gave his first official remarks Monday since taking the helm during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Jeff Sessions pledged to devote federal resources to combat violent crime, condemning the “surge” in murders. He also called police and sheriffs “frontline soldiers” in need of an ally and morale boost, according to multiple media outlets.

While the U.S. crime rate rose slightly in 2016, the overall violent crime rate continues to reach near-record lows. Still, Sessions spoke about the rising murder rates in some major cities like Chicago, which experienced its highest homicide rate in 19 years.

“My judgement is this is not a blip we are seeing, I’m afraid, [it’s] a longer term trend of violent crime going up, which is not what we want in America,” he said, as reported by NPR.

In response, Sessions vowed more consistent prosecution of criminals who carry guns during their crimes, insisting that approach will rid the streets of dangerous people responsible for the spike in violence. He also said he was “troubled” by the decrease in the number of stop-and-frisks conducted by police in Chicago.

According to the AP, Sessions said he would establish a violent crime task force, underscoring an early focus on drug and violent crime. This is a radical departure for a Justice Department that has viewed the prevention of cyberattacks from foreign criminals, international bribery and the threat of homegrown violent extremism much more urgent in the past.

Staying true to the platform he expressed throughout his nomination, Sessions once again indicated he believes police abuse is not systemic, but the fault of individual rogue officers, which is sometimes referred to as the “bad apples” view.

When asked by The Huffington Post if he had read the Obama-era Civil Rights Division’s scathing report on systematic abuse by both Chicago and Baltimore police, Sessions responded that he had not.

“I have not read those reports, frankly. We’ve had summaries of them, and some of it was pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based,” Sessions said, according to The Huffington Post.

He also said he had not decided yet if the DOJ would proceed in the Chicago case, or abandon that and focus the Civil Rights Division’s efforts elsewhere.

"We need to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness, and I'm afraid we've done some of that," Sessions told the gathering. "So we're going to try to pull back on this. I don't think it's wrong or mean or insensitive to civil rights or human rights. It's out of a concern to make the lives of people, particularly in poor communities, minority communities, live a safer, happier life."

Also during this meeting with reporters, Session addressed the growing support for the legalization of marijuana.

“I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” Session said, as reported by the AP. “I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people are smoking pot.”

As White House spokesman Sean Spicer hinted at last week, Session said the Justice Department will try to adopt “reasonable policies” for the enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws, and is currently reviewing an Obama-era memo that gives states flexibility in passing their own marijuana laws.

Sessions added that he believes violence surrounds the sale and use of marijuana in the U.S., although numerous studies have found no correlation between the legalization of the Schedule I drug and violent crime rates.

What law enforcement has found though is an increase in drug traffickers illegally growing and shipping marijuana across state lines—from states where its legal to states where it is not—in an effort to maximum profit.

In 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma were the first to sue Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, alleging the growing array of marijuana shops was piping the drug into neighboring states and should be shut down. The lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016.

Sessions mentioned that he has met with Nebraska’s attorney general on the topic.

Since the November election, the recreational use of cannabis is legal in eight states, which are home to almost a quarter of the nation’s overall population. Cannabis for medical use is now legal in 25 states and the District.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.