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Operation Legend receives mixed reaction in KC

KCPD
Posted at 6:05 PM, Jul 09, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the coming days, around 100 federal agents will arrive in Kansas City, Missouri, as part of Operation Legend, a program aimed at helping the Kansas City Police Department in fighting violent crime and solving homicides.

The new initiative comes after the death of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while sleeping in an apartment complex in June.

Kansas City is currently on pace to break its record number of homicides, with violent crime up 40% compared with last year.

KCPD welcomes the federal help.

"Certainly assisting our officers, they are not going to be taking over any cases or anything like that, they’ll be assisting us," KCPD Capt. David Jackson said Thursday.

The agents will do more work behind-the-scenes, Jackson said, and assist with investigations and the prosecutorial aspects of those cases.

"I think that some people have the idea that this might be like the National Guard or something, a very robust feeling that something is different," Jackson said. "I don’t think that’s going to be the case."

Some anti-violence advocates are weary of the announcement and the new program.

"We don’t need more boots on the ground and more people," community activist Justice Horn said. "What I am worried is that it’s going to turn the heat up in the city, it’s going to push everything back in the factor and pick your spot: are you with law enforcement or with people?"

A protest is planned for 3 p.m. Friday at KCPD headquarters in downtown Kansas City.

One of the first people to learn about Operation Legend in Kansas City was KC Mothers In Charge Executive Director Rosilyn Temple. She said she received a phone call to get information about LeGend and to see if his mother would give the green light to name the operation after him.

Temple believes the federal agents are needed to help stop the violence in Kansas City.

"I think they can come in with more manpower to help our police department because they need help," Temple said. "Come work together and doing things together to help our violent crime division."

She also believes the national exposure now on Kansas City could help law enforcement catch more criminals and bring justice to families in the long run.

"We can’t allow these murderers, these monsters, to walk our streets," Temple said. "I think that this might open the door for us to get that witness protection program that we really need."

It's unclear how long the federal agents will be in Kansas City as part of Operation Legend. The U.S. Marshals Service said Thursday that it will support the initiative and plans to deploy additional deputy marshals to the city.