MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – Federal agents will be deployed to three Midwest cities, including Milwaukee, as part of the United States Department of Justice expands its “Operation Legend” program.

According to a release from the DOJ, “Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime.”

The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque on July 22.

“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, three cities that have seen disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides. For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities that are experiencing upticks in violent crime. The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”

AG Barr has directed the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF to significantly increase resources into Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence.

Numerous Wisconsin Democrats, including Governor Tony Evers, have asked a federal prosecutor to clarify the role federal agents will play in Milwaukee in the coming weeks.

The DOJ says agents “will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service to the city. Under the leadership of Matthew Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combatting violent crime, including offenses involving firearms and violent drug trafficking organizations. 10 of those federal investigators are assigned to work in Milwaukee temporarily to provide immediate assistance, and the others will be assigned over the coming year to Milwaukee permanently to provide long-term assistance. “

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1.9 million in funding to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Milwaukee. The DOJ says the COPS Office has made $10.2 million available to the Police Departments of Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and Cudahy to fund the hiring of 29 officers. 

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