President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr announced on Wednesday that they were expanding Operation Legend into two additional cities that have been deemed to be “plagued by recent violence.”
“Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime,” the DOJ said in a statement Wednesday. “Operation Legend is 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.”
The operation launched a couple of weeks ago in Kansas City and is now expanding into Chicago and Albuquerque, both of which have seen significant increases in violent crime. Barr directed the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF to significantly ramp up federal resources to the two Democrat-controlled cities.
The federal operation in Chicago will include:
- The Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending over 100 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, and ATF to the city.
- The investigatory efforts will be advanced by more than 100 members of the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Task Force, which will direct violent fugitive apprehension operations within Chicago to identify wanted gang members, violent criminals, and firearms violators.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are also committing at least 100 agents, already stationed in Chicago, to Operation Legend. HSI agents will conduct investigations into gangs, narcotics traffickers, violent offenders, and firearms traffickers.
- To further support the Chicago Police Department in reducing violent crime, ATF has deployed its national Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command Vehicle to assist local law enforcement with analysis of crime scenes and spent shell casings through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
- The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $3.5 million in funding to reimburse the Chicago Police Department and City of Chicago for the work of local law enforcement on the federal task forces supporting Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts. The COPS Office has also made $9.375 million available to the Chicago Police Department to fund the hiring of 75 officers.
The federal operation in Albuquerque will include:
- The Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, and ATF to the city.
- Up to 10 HSI agents will assist with the efforts in Albuquerque, as well.
- The Department of Justice has also made available over $1.5 million in COPS Hiring Grants to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department to onboard five deputies and to support additional federal task force officers committed to violent crime reduction efforts. Additionally, the COPS Office has made $9.74 million available to the Albuquerque Police Department to fund the hiring of 40 officers.
- Separately, the Bureau of Justice Assistance has made available $1.4 million to reimburse the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and Albuquerque Police Department for the work of local law enforcement on the federal task forces supporting Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts.
“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens,” Barr said. “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Chicago and Albuquerque to protect the residents of those cities from senseless acts of deadly violence by targeting those involved in gang activity and those who use guns to commit violent crime.”
During a press conference Wednesday, Barr said, “The principal danger to the lives of our inner-city communities is violent crime. The leading cause of death for young, black males is homicide. Each year, approximately 7,500 black Americans are the victims of homicide. Every one of those lives matter.”
“The real measure of success of initiatives like Operation LeGend is the ability of communities to feel safe,” FBI Director Chris Wray said in a statement. “It’s not about the number of arrests; it’s about the ability of kids to be able to play outside of their homes, about families to be able to walk to and from work.”
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