I am at a meeting of the Major City Chiefs Association today at which U.S. Attorney General William Barr is discussing Operation LeGend. Operation LeGend brought hundreds of federal agents into Kansas City to help our agency investigate violent crimes during an unprecedented increase. They helped us take dozens of murderers, and many more shooters, robbers and other perpetrators of violent crime into custody. They brought the resources of the entire federal criminal justice system to Kansas City, meaning many of those suspects now are facing federal charges and are in custody in federal detention until their trials.
The homicide rate in Kansas City has dropped precipitously since the implementation of Operation LeGend, as you can see in this chart.
The resources of Operation LeGend allowed us to investigate violent crimes and arrest suspects much faster than we would have been able to do alone. Their assistance with analysis, interviewing witnesses and suspects who have left the metro area and more have been invaluable.
Operation LeGend is not over. While we have long had a great working relationship with our federal law enforcement partners, those relationships are being enhanced. For many years, we have had several specialized squads composed of both KCPD and federal agents, and that’s growing. The FBI’s Kansas City Field Office will embed additional personnel in our Violent Crimes Division.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) also has created a new criminal enforcement group in Kansas City made up of eight agents and a supervisor. They are assigned to work full time with our Assault Squad to investigate non-fatal shootings. They work alongside our detectives here in KCPD Headquarters on things like ballistics intelligence to connect shootings and link suspects to firearms. They also are helping us charge shooters with federal gun law violations to get them off the streets as soon as possible.
There is still work to be done. The additional federal resources coming through the continuation of Operation LeGend will help us continue to hold violent offenders accountable and increase safety in our neighborhoods.
Operation LeGend is about enforcement, but we have all heard that police can’t “arrest our way out” of a violent crime issue. That’s why we’re working with faith leaders in the Getting to the Heart of the Matter initiative to address some of the root causes of crime. It’s why we partnered with churches from the Northland to the Southland this past weekend on Faith and Blue events that provided more than 45,000 meals to residents. It’s why we employ social workers and a specialized Crisis Intervention Team Squad and so much more.
The KCPD is working to address violent crime from multiple angles, and the help of both federal and community partners makes that work so much more effective.
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