(STL.News) – Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. 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 Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and expanded on July 22, 2020, to Chicago and Albuquerque.
Operation Legend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The first federal arrest under Operation Legend was announced on July 20.
“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.”
As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr directed the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF to significantly increase resources into Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence. 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.
In Cleveland, 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. Under the leadership of Justin Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combating violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1 million to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Cleveland, and 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.
In Detroit, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending approximately 42 federal agents from the FBI, DEA, and ATF to the city. An additional 10 Detroit ATF agents have been reassigned to work on violent gun crimes. Under the leadership of Matthew Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, these federal agents will work cooperatively with the Detroit Police Department to combat gun and gang violence, as they have been doing since December 2019. These additional resources include 11 new and permanent ATF Special Agents and five new and permanent FBI Special Agents who will focus on violent crime in the City of Detroit.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1.4 million to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Detroit, and the COPS Office has also made $2.4 million available to the Detroit Police Department to fund the hiring of 15 officers.
In Milwaukee, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service to the city. Under the leadership of Matthew Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combatting violent crime, including offenses involving firearms and violent drug trafficking organizations. 10 of those federal investigators are assigned to work in Milwaukee temporarily to provide immediate assistance, and the others will be assigned over the coming year to Milwaukee permanently to provide long-term assistance.
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.
The Department has also provided assistance through the Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO) fund to assist reimbursement of local law enforcement serving as federal task force officers with FBI, ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Each city will receive $100,000 from ATF to help local agencies defray costs associated with installing or maintaining shot detection technology.