MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - United States Attorney Mike Dunavant is in Memphis Thursday to discuss a new operation to fight the sudden surge of violent crime in Memphis.
Joined by the FBI and other law enforcement partners, Dunavant announced the launch of “Operation LeGend.”
The initiative is named in honor of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept the morning of June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. It was first launched on July 8 and has since expanded to several other cities.
As part of the operation, Attorney General Barr directed the ATF, FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service to significantly increase resources into Memphis in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight violent crime.
Memphis is currently experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides spiking up more than 49%, reported gun crime up 23%, and aggravated assault shootings up over 19% in comparison to last year.
In response, the Department of Justice will be deploying 40 federal investigators to Memphis -- 16 federal investigators on temporary assignment for 90 days and 24 permanent agent assignments from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and Homeland Security Investigations.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will also make $200,000 available to support Operation LeGend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Memphis, in addition to the prior BJA grant funding award of $1.4 million to Shelby County.
U.S. Representative David Kustoff of Memphis released the following statement Thursday:
“Law enforcement risk their lives every day for the safety of our communities and it is essential we support them. Operation Legend will bring together federal and local law enforcement, giving them increased resources to help take violent criminals off of our streets in Memphis. I would like to thank West Tennessee United States Attorney Mike Dunavant, Attorney General Bill Barr, and President Donald Trump for their work to bring this great initiative to the city of Memphis. With the implementation of Operation Legend, our law enforcement officers will be better supported, and violent criminals will be brought to justice.”