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Trump admin deploying ‘surge’ of federal agents into crime-ridden US cities

President Donald J. Trump walks from the White House to deliver remarks at the Rolling Back Regulations to Help All Americans event Thursday, July 16, 2020, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Delano Scott)
July 22, 2020

President Trump announced an expanded federal effort dubbed “Operation Legend” to send federal law enforcement agents into crime-ridden cities.

“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,” Trump said.

Operation Legend, named for slain four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, is an effort led by the U.S. Department of Justice that involves agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service.

Attorney General Bill Barr said 200 federal agents have already been deployed to Kansas City, and a comparable number of agents will be sent to Chicago. Another 35 agents will deploy to Albuquerque. All three cities are experiencing record-breaking surges in violent crime.

Barr said the mission will extend to additional cities in the coming weeks.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) committed 100 of its agents currently in Chicago to Operation Legend. HIS agents will investigate gangs, firearms and narcotics traffickers, and violent criminals.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said the DHS is committed to sending its agents “to restore law and order.” Wolf explained that agents deployed in support of Operation Legend will do so to “protect the public from violent crime” unlike Portland, where the mission is to protect federal property.

In addition to deploying federal agents to the cities, the mission also seeks to prioritize funding assistance to local police department. The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office provided $9.375 million to the Chicago Police Department to hire 75 officers, $1.5 million to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department for five new officers, and $9.74 million to the Albuquerque Police Department for 40 new officers.

A total of $61 million in grants will be provided to law enforcement departments for the hiring of additional officers.

“This bloodshed must end,” Trump said. “This bloodshed will end.”

Operation Legend was first launched July 8 to support law enforcement in cities plagued by violence. The mission’s first arrest was made July 20 in Kansas City, involving a 20-year-old charged with illegal possession of firearms and drugs.