In a matter of days, 225 federal agents will be on the ground in Kansas City ramping up investigations into unsolved murders – not to patrol the streets. The city has reached at least 101 homicides so far this year and it is on track to be the most violent year in Kansas City’s history. The figure is about a 35% increase over last year’s murder rate.

U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison discusses Operation LeGend w/ Mayor Lucas, Charron Powell, mother of LeGend Taliferro, Rosilyn Temple of KC Mothers in Charge, and Jaymes Evans, LeGend’s grandfather

During a press conference Wednesday, Tim Garrison, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, says the goal is to identify the most prolific violent offenders and get them off the streets.

“An unprecedented spike in violent crime deserves an unprecedented response from government authorities,” says Garrison.

The new federal operation, called Operation Legend, was announced last week by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh Mcenany and a press release followed from U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s office. The operation is named after a four-year-old Kansas City boy killed last month while he was sleeping. Legend’s family joined Garrison and Mayor Quinton Lucas while the details of the work were laid out in Wednesday’s press conference.

Lucas says the operation is about finding justice for victims of violent crime.

“This operation is not tanks in the streets,” he says. “This operation is not a substitute patrol force. This operation is not overenforcement from federal law enforcement. This is not an operation where anyone is coming to take over the work that either our police department does here locally or other authorities and agencies do.”

The federal agents are from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Wednesday’s press conference came the same day as Gov. Mike Parson announcing that he is calling state lawmakers back to Jefferson City later this month to address Missouri’s surge in violent crime.

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