On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced it was extending Operation Legend, an initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime and was already in place in Kansas City, Missouri, Chicago, and Albuquerque, to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee.
The initiative was named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. It was first launched in Kansas City and extended to Chicago and Albuquerque. The operation announced its first arrest on July 20.
On July 22, President Trump spoke of Operation Legend. He stated:
My first duty as President is to protect the American people, and today I’m taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation. In recent weeks, there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments. Extreme politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly vilified our law enforcement heroes. To look at it from any standpoint, the effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders, and heinous crimes of violence. This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end.
Today, I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime. We’ll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice. We’ve been doing it, and you’ve been seeing what’s happening all around the country. We’ve just started this process, and, frankly, we have no choice but to get involved.
“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, three cities that have seen disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides. For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities that are experiencing upticks in violent crime. The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”
The DOJ stated, “Cleveland is currently experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides currently up more than 13 percent and shootings up over 35 percent over 2019. Similarly, homicides are up in Detroit nearly 31 percent and shootings resulting in wounds are up over 53 percent. In Milwaukee, homicides are up 85 percent this year, and non-fatal shootings are up 64 percent.”
25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, and ATF are being sent to Cleveland and are supported by $1 million from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The DOJ noted, “The COPS Office has also made almost $10 million available to the Cleveland Police Department to fund the hiring of 30 officers, five Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers, and four Adult Parole Authority officers.”
42 federal agents from the FBI, DEA, and ATF will be sent to Detroit; supported by $1.4 million from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Ten more ATF agents from Detroit will be reassigned to work on violent gun crimes. The COPS Office will offer $2.4 million to the Detroit Police Department to hire 15 officers.
25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service will be sent to Milwaukee. The DOJ stated, “The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1.9 million in funding to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Milwaukee, and the COPS Office has also made $10.2 million available to the Police Departments of Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and Cudahy to fund the hiring of 29 officers.”