Feds help Cleveland tackle violent crime as part of ‘Operation Legend’

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – “Operation Legend” and its role in Cleveland was detailed by federal authorities in Northeast Ohio Wednesday.

Justin Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, held a press conference at the Cleveland Division of the FBI with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Division of Police Chief Calvin Williams.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams said last week no federal troops are coming to the city.

According to Herdman, 25 federal investigators are being permanently reassigned to Cleveland.

Over the last year Herdman says homicides in Cleveland are up 13% and nonfatal shootings are up 35%.

“We do need the assistance of our federal partners to bring that under control,” Mayor Jackson said at Wednesday’s press conference.

All parties at the press conference emphasized that Operation Legend is a violent crime reduction effort, focused on reducing gang violence, drug crimes, and illegal firearms in Cleveland.

“This is not an introduction of federal riot police,” Herdman said.

President Trump announced last week that he was sending federal agents to Kansas City, Chicago, and Albuquerque.

The initiative is named for LeGend Taliferro.

The 4-year-old boy was shot and killed while sleeping in his bed on June 29 in Kansas City.

“To LeGend’s family: We cannot even begin to imagine your anguish and your sorrow, but we solemnly promise to honor LeGend, and we will be every day to save the lives of America’s children. Under Operation LeGend, we will also soon send federal law enforcement to other cities that need help,” President Trump said in a press conference last week.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in the Western District of Missouri says federal agents and local police have arrested more than 50 people in connection with the operation.

LeGend’s mother spoke at the White House during the announcement.

“My one and only child who fought through open heart surgery at four months is gone due to senseless gun violence,” Charon Powell said.

“Children are supposed to be our future and our son didn’t make it to kindergarten.”

The president said the Department of Justice will provide $61 million in grants to hire hundreds of new police officers in cities that are the focus of Operation Legend.

“We will never defund the police.  We will hire more great police.  We want to make law enforcement stronger, not weaker,” the president said.

In Cleveland the money will be used to hire four new adult probation officers, five new staff members with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and 30 new officers for the Cleveland Division of Police.

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