In support of Operation Legend, the FBI is combining resources with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in nine cities where there has been a troubling uptick in violent crime.
The initiative was named after a 4-year-old boy, LeGend Taliferro, who was killed by gunfire while asleep in his Kansas City, Missouri, home. LeGend’s city was the first area to receive additional resources when Attorney General William Barr announced the launch of Operation Legend on July 8, 2020.
The operation has since expanded to include support for Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, and St Louis.
“There’s been a significant increase in violent crime in various parts of the country,” said Calvin Shivers, the assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Operation Legend is an initiative to surge resources across the Department of Justice to those cities to address that spike in crime.”
Shivers said the FBI has provided additional agents, but has also brought in support from across the Bureau. The FBI’s intelligence analysts, digital evidence experts, field office personnel, and professional staff are supporting efforts to get to the root causes of the crime increases in Kansas City, Chicago, and other Operation Legend cities.
“What we bring to the table is the ability to target some of the most violent offenders in the short term while pursuing a longer term strategy to dismantle entire criminal organizations,” Shivers said.
“Operation Legend has allowed us to surge additional resources to these areas that are seeing an unacceptable increase in violence,” said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich. “These crimes unsettle communities and threaten the sense of safety we all deserve to have when we put our children to bed at night or when we step out in our neighborhoods.”
Operation Legend has already produced results. One of the most heartening developments was the arrest of a suspect in the murder of LeGend Taliferro on August 13.
Within the first 30 days, efforts in Kansas City resulted in more than 200 arrests, according to U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. Among those apprehended were suspects in homicides, assaults, robberies, and drug trafficking.
“There is a significant uptick in violent crime in Kansas City, and while every agency participating in this operation has a different role and responsibility, fighting violent crime is a responsibility we all share,” said FBI Kansas City Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan.
Shivers said that since mid-July, the FBI has opened 111 new cases, made 116 arrests, and recovered 92 firearms across the Operation Legend cities.
“What we want to do,” Shivers said, “is have a significantly positive impact on an entire community that’s being affected by violent crime.”
Update 8/19/2020: Attorney General William Barr provided updates on Operation Legend at a press conference in Kansas City.