The Trump administration announced federal law enforcement officers will be sent to Memphis and St. Louis to stamp out violent crime in the cities.
The Justice Department announced Thursday the expansion of Operation Legend that began in early July with the deployment of federal troops to Kansas City, Mo., following the death of LeGend Taliferro, 4, who was fatally shot while sleeping in the early morning of June 29.
In July, Federal troops were also sent to Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee under the operation.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the troops were being sent to Memphis and St. Louis as the cities have been seeing an uptick 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 our streets,” Barr said in a statement.
Barr said he has directed the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to increase resources to the two cities in the coming weeks to help local and state officials fight crime, particularly gun violence.
More than 50 federal investigators from the Department of Homeland Security will be sent to St. Louis while 16 federal investigators will be sent to Memphis for 90 days, which will be followed by 24 permanent agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and Homeland Security, the Justice Department said.
U.S. attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee said he welcomed the arrival of Operation Legend to Memphis.
“Operation Legend comes at a critical time in our city,” he said in a statement. “I am appreciative to Attorney General Barr for deploying these temporary and permanent federal agent assignments to Memphis, and I look forward to working with all our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to attack the real violent crime drivers in our community.”
According to the Justice Department, Memphis has experienced a more than 39% increase in homicides, a 23 % increase in gun crime and a 19% percent increase in assaults over 2019.
In St. Louis, the department said homicides were up more than 34% and non-fatal shootings increased by 13% over the previous year.
The Justice Department also announced that some $200,000 will be made available to Memphis on top of the $1.4 million that was previously award to Shelby County to provide manpower, technology, equipment and support for Operation Legend. An additional $9.8 million will also be given to the Memphis Police Department to fund the hiring of 50 officers, the federal agency said.
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