In his opening comments at a July 22 gathering in the East Room of the White House to announce the expansion of Operation LeGend, President Trump acknowledged that his first duty as President is to protect the American people. It is an obligation he described as “sacred”.
Operation LeGend is named after LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was shot and killed while he slept in his family’s apartment in Kansas City in late June. Its purpose, as described by Attorney General William Barr is “classic crime fighting,” and the initiative focuses specifically on violent crime. Operation LeGend surged resources, including funds and hundreds of federal law enforcement agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshall Service, and the Department of Homeland Security to apprehend violent criminals.
This coordinated law enforcement effort was designed to work closely with state and local police agencies and was launched on July 8 in Kansas City. Its first expansion was to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Chicago’s well-documented violence is punctuated by its 51 percent increase in homicides over 2019. Albuquerque is on track to break its 2019 record for homicides.
On July 29, Operation LeGend was expanded to Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit. More federal agents were provided as well as financial resources that enabled these cities to hire additional police officers, state troopers and parole officers. These cities are under siege with Cleveland experiencing a 13 percent increase in homicides and a 35 percent increase in shootings. In Milwaukee, homicides have increased a staggering 85 percent and non-fatal shootings are up 64 percent. Meanwhile in Detroit, homicides have increased by almost 31 percent and non-fatal shootings increased over 53 percent.
In August, Operation LeGend was expanded again to include St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis, all cities seeing a dramatic rise in violent crime. St. Louis’ homicides are up nearly 34 percent while shootings have increased 13 percent. Memphis is in the midst of a 59 percent increase in homicides and saw gun-related crimes rise by 23 percent. The number of Indianapolis homicides increased by 51 percent and non-fatal shootings are up 34 percent.
The results have been outstanding. As of the third week of August, Operation LeGend has produced nearly 1,500 arrests of violent criminals across these nine cities, including the apprehension of 90 murder suspects. Of those arrested, more than 200 have been charged with federal crimes, including more than 100 charged with federal gun crimes. According to AG Barr, hundreds of high-powered weapons have been seized in the cities since Operation LeGend’s launch and subsequent expansion.
The operation’s approach to establish anti-crime task forces in these cities is working, and the collaboration between federal, local, and state agencies has thus far produced impressive results. President Trump was right to prioritize cities that are hit hardest by violent crime and leverage the resources of the federal government to make them safer so families and businesses there can thrive. Operation LeGend proves that additional investments both in law enforcement presence and funding combined with prudent, well-executed planning takes bad people off of the streets and increases public safety.
Now, contrast these successful actions with all of the “defund the police” rhetoric coming from Democrats and the far Left.
Andrew Mangione is Senior Vice President for AMAC’s advocacy affiliate, AMAC Action. He leads AMAC’s grassroots efforts, represents AMAC’s membership in Washington, D.C., and helps chart the association’s policy course. He also serves as a national spokesperson.