Operation LeGend federal agents leave Kansas City, but initiative isn’t over, officials say

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The work isn’t done yet, but officials said on Monday that crime is trending back down after the departure Operation LeGend federal agents from the city.

Tim Garrison, U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said the federal agents were in the city for about 60 days. He said, during that time, their efforts have made major strides.

“In the last 10 or 11 weeks, we’ve had over 500 arrests as a result of the joint operation known as Operation LeGend,” Garrison said.

He said about 125 arrests have been charged in federal courts or have been referred to state courts. Many of these have been for illegal firearms and drugs. More than $1 million from the federal government has been given to add personnel and equipment. There are now also permanently assigned FBI special agents working within the KCPD.

However, as he stood at the fire station near where a recent triple shooting killed a 1-year-old Tyron Payton, Garrison said that Operation LeGend still isn’t over.

“This is not a victory lap … There is too much work to do,” he said. “We cannot arrest and prosecute our way out of this problem. This is a problem that needs participation from all members of our community, law enforcement and non-law enforcement.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas thanked Kansas City police officers during the news conference for continuing their work during a pandemic and intense local and nationwide unrest over policing tactics.

“All of us see it as our primary responsibility to make sure that Kansas Citians, specifically Kansas City’s children, are safe,” Lucas said.

Lucas said the operation has spurred new law enforcement programs, like Blueprint for Safety, an anti-domestic violence initiative. Police Chief Rick Smith also said that the operation has formed new bonds between the public and police.

Yet, Lucas again urged the public to communicate more with police in ongoing and future cases.

“My heart goes out to every single victim and every single family in Kansas City,” Lucas said. “But there’s another ask I have: We need you to speak up and speak out because that’s how we change things.”

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