KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Marshals Service will deploy additional deputy marshals to assist with a new anti-violence initiative in Kansas City, Missouri, with an emphasis on arresting those on the city’s most-wanted list.
Mark James, U.S. Marshal of the Western District of Missouri, said Thursday that the U.S. Marshals Service will give support to Operation Legend, named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy slain in KCMO last month while he was asleep in his bed.
The deputy marshals will help executive federal arrest warrants for fugitives in the Kansas City area, according to James, as well as assist the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department and other local and federal agencies in arresting those who have state warrants for violent crimes.
The U.S. Marshals Service will concentrate on the most-wanted fugitives identified through the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers organization.
“The U.S. Marshals Service of the Western District of Missouri is committed to doing its part to help combat the violent crime plaguing our community, and we will dedicate our efforts to the memory of LeGend Taliferro,” James said in a news release.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced Thursday that the Department of Justice was launching Operation Legend as the city currently experiences “its worst homicide rate in its history.” Nearly 100 people have been killed in the city so far this year, which is on pace to have the highest number of homicides in recent history.
As part of Operation Legend, at least 100 federal agents are expected to arrive within the next 10 days to help state and local law enforcement locate and arrest those suspected in homicides.
Mayor Quinton Lucas, who said he first learned of Operation Legend on social media, said Wednesday that the city does not need "thousands of U.S. Marshals to come patrol the streets."
He said their assistance will be one part of a larger effort "to make sure murderers are found and murderers are brought to justice."
In a virtual meeting Thursday morning with Lucas and two KCMO City Council members, KCPD Capt. Scott Simons reiterated that federal agents will not take over the job of police officers. Instead, they will serve as added support in efforts to decrease violence in the area, he said.
Simons said the public should not notice their presence in the city unless they are making an arrest.