Indianapolis to get funding for new federal violent crime-fighting effort

An operation to end violent crime created in honor of a 4-year-old who was shot and killed in his sleep will now be expanded to Indianapolis, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced Friday that Indianapolis will now be one of the cities that participates in Operation Legend, “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.”

Operation Legend was formed after preschool-aged Legend Taliferro was shot and killed while he slept on June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available up to $250,000 to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Indianapolis.

Funds will be available to reimburse state and local agencies with any overtime during the operation, the announcement says. The federal law enforcement support provided through Operation Legend looks different in each city in order to meet the specific needs of the individual communities, Minkler’s office said.

The operation launched last month in Kansas City as a result of President Donald Trump’s promise to assist America’s cities that are plagued by recent violence, the announcement says. In addition to Indianapolis, Operation Legend expanded in July and August to Chicago, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Memphis.

“Operation Legend is not intended for or in response to protest activity, civil disturbances, or immigration enforcement. It was not conceived or announced in response to events in Portland, which is not an Operation Legend city,” the announcement says.

“Larger cities across the country have seen a surge in murders and violent crimes in recent years,” Minkler said. “The innocent victims and perpetrators are getting younger than ever before and Indianapolis has not been immune from this surge. Operation Legend will enhance the partnerships already established between local, state, and federal law enforcement. And will serve as another tool that can be used to assist in current investigations and help deter the need for new ones to start.”

In Indianapolis, Attorney General William Barr has directed the ATF, FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service to dedicate resources to Operation Legend to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence.

Fifty-seven federal investigators will be dedicated to Operation Legend who will continue their work through existing joint federal, state and local task forces, as well as investigators and officers from IMPD, under Minkler’s leadership. The operation will focus on combatting violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations.

Additionally, FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan announced that as part of the initiative, a reward of up to $25,000 would be made available for information leading to the identification and arrest of the individual responsible for the homicide of De’Shaun Swanson, a 10-year-old Indianapolis boy who was killed in a drive-by shooting.

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