KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three weeks after launching a federal crime-fighting program in Kansas City, Missouri, the Department of Justice said it will expand Operation LeGend to three other U.S. cities experiencing high rates of violent crime.
Operation LeGend, named after a 4-year-old Kansas City boy who was shot to death while sleeping in his bed, will be expanded to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that the three cities have seen “disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides.”
As part of the program, federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be sent to each of the three cities. The move to send federal agents into cities has angered some who fear they will be used to quell protests over police brutality, similar to what has happened in Portland, where federal law enforcement have been active in policing Black Lives Matter protests.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has said he will support the operation as long as it remains focused on solving uncleared homicides and other violent crimes.
Officials said Tuesday that Operation LeGend has led to 50 arrests in the past week in Kansas City, mostly for firearm and drug-related offenses.
The operation also has been credited with the arrest of one homicide suspect. Joel Roseberry, 44, was charged last week with second-degree murder and other counts in the deadly shooting of Frederick Outley, 28, outside a convenience store on March 1.
Kansas City police said that while the case occurred before the start of the operation, FBI agents assisted officers in locating and apprehending Roseberry.
Operation LeGend also has been expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque. In announcing the expansion to those cities last week, Barr wrongfully said that the operation had led to 200 arrests in Kansas City. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri later confirmed that Barr had misspoken.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.
Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015.