(STL.News) – At a roundtable with law enforcement in today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is making up to $5.3 million available in grants to support Operation Legend. Eight Legend cities – Kansas City, Mo., Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis – will be eligible for up to $500,000 in grant funding to support Real Time Crime Centers, which provide police with rapid intelligence and instant information to help identify emerging crime patterns. In addition, more than $1.3 million will fund special prosecutors who have been cross-designated to try federal firearms cases originating in Albuquerque, Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Mo.
“Keeping its citizens safe is the primary responsibility of government,” said Attorney General Barr. “Cities plagued by violent crime need the resources to tackle it, and these grant awards will help do that. On the enforcement side, Real Time Crime Centers will make policing more efficient and targeted; and on the prosecution side, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys will help bring more federal firearms cases to justice.”
Real Time Crime Centers are a considerable financial investment for any law enforcement agency. The funding being made available to each Legend city can assist police departments in purchasing critical equipment and paying for the overtime to keep these centers staffed around the clock.
Grants to the New Mexico 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office ($278,460); Jackson County, Missouri ($247,236); Tennessee’s 30th District Attorney General’s Office ($398,864); and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office ($397,020) will allow these four Operation Legend sites to hire full-time local prosecutors who will be empowered to try firearms cases in federal court. Prosecuting gun crimes is central to the Justice Department’s strategy under Operation Legend, a sustained, systematic and coordinated initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local officials to fight violent crime. Funding comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of OJP.
“We are pleased to support the outstanding work being undertaken through Operation Legend to reduce violent crime by focusing on cases involving illegal firearms,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “The Office of Justice Programs is pleased to make these resources available to support the brave crime-fighters who work so hard to deter violence and keep our communities safe.”
The Department of Justice launched Operation Legend in July, following the murder of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept in his Kansas City home. The initiative was subsequently expanded from Kansas City to Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Since the summer launch, officials in Operation Legend sites have made more than 5,500 arrests, including approximately 276 for homicide, and seized more than 2,000 firearms. Of the more than 5,500 individuals arrested, approximately 1,124 have been charged with federal offenses. More than 600 of those defendants have been charged with firearms offenses.