KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hundreds of violent, repeat offenders are off the streets thanks to an area-wide law enforcement effort called "Operation Triple Beam."
One of the things leaders were most proud of was the fact that in 355 arrests, there was no exchange of gunfire between suspects and police. That’s a big deal with you’re talking about hundreds of the absolute worst criminals in the metro.
Tim Garrison, the U.S. Attorney for Missouri's Western District, stood among other law enforcement leaders at the federal courthouse Tuesday afternoon to share the news.
“Brian Bartlett was 8 years old, asleep in his bed, in his home when he was killed by men who drove up and riddled his home with bullets," he said. "We could tell other stories that are equally as heartbreaking. This is outrageous. So what are we doing about it?”
Operation Triple Beam was a high-intensity, all-hands-on-deck law enforcement effort, going after the worst criminals in Kansas City.
“The operation was an intelligence-driven effort targeting active felony warrants for violent crimes, narcotics and weapons offenses," U.S. Marshal Mark James said. "Of the 355 arrests, eight were for homicide, 71 were for weapons offenses, 10 were armed robbers to include a bank robber and two robbery crews robbing multiple cell phone stores at gunpoint."
He added: "117 arrests were for narcotics violations, 25 for burglary, 22 for assault, 17 for vehicle theft, 11 for sex crimes, one for arson and the remaining 73 for a variety of other felony offenses.”
“Many of the arrestees were among the most violent fugitives and prolific offenders in the metropolitan area, with many having multiple outstanding warrants from more than one agency,” James continued.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he discusses violent crime with his staff weekly.
"As a person and a governor, these kids getting shot in the streets takes this thing to a whole new level," Parson said. "We’ve had violent crime before, but we’ve had way too many kids who haven’t made it to their tenth birthdays getting shot on the street for just playing on the sidewalk."
The U.S. Marshals Service worked with nearly a dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to recover 69 guns, almost 2,400 rounds of ammo and nearly 10 pounds of narcotics. T
hey said they cannot do their work without the work of the community.
“If you give us that tips that we need to prosecute some of these violent individuals, these criminals will be out of your neighborhood," Garrison said.
Besides reactionary work like this for crimes already committed, the law enforcement leaders want to address the root cause.
“Whether that be through the churches, whether that be community outreaches, whether that be the everyday citizens working together," Parson said. "If we are to change these violent, criminal acts that we have in this state, it’ll be all of us working together."
In less than two years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Missouri's Western District has added eight new prosecutors.
They’ve also asked local agencies to give them cases if they’re eligible; federal punishments and sentences can be harsher. Numbers show the office is on pace to prosecute 40% more cases this fiscal year than the same time last year.