CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams announced Friday during a joint news conference that no "troops" would be hitting city streets as part of Operation Legend.
Last December, the city announced it would receive additional "investigators" as part of Operation Relentless Pursuit, a program that targets violent crime in cities across the country.
Jackson said Operation Legend is effectively just a renaming of the initiative that is already underway in the city.
"I think there's a lot of misinformation out there," said Williams, "there are no federal troops coming to the City of Cleveland. We have not requested, nor has the federal government asked to send federal troops to the City of Cleveland."
Williams said that the only thing changing with the program is the name itself.
Operation Legend is a law enforcement effort named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was shot and killed last month in Kansas City.
On June 29, LeGend was shot while he lay asleep in his bed at home. His father took him to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead, according to the FBI. A $25,000 reward has been offered for the identification and arrest of the person responsible.
Less than two weeks following the boy’s death, Attorney General Bill Barr announced the creation of Operation Legend. Following that, more than 200 federal law enforcement agents were sent to Kansas City to help “curb the kind of senseless violence that took the young boy’s life,” according to The White House.
On Wednesday, The White House stated that the Justice Department will expand the program into Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Albuquerque and Milwaukee soon.
The city has affirmed that troops will not have boots on the ground in Cleveland but additional resources would be forthcoming.
"There are resources here, there are resources coming that are part of the original allotment that we decided on back in January. All those folks aren't in place, but they're coming," Williams said.
The chief did not give a hard number of how many additional state, federal, and local resources were part of that allotment.
Williams stressed the additional investigators roles will be to take violent criminals off the streets.
"We're here to make sure when this is all said and done that you can sit on your porch on any evening or any morning and enjoy yourself and not, again, like we've had recently, catch a stray bullet from some knucklehead out there that just wants to shoot because he has a gun or has a beef with someone else," said Williams.
U.S Attorney Justin Herdman released the following statement Friday regarding Cleveland's collaboration with federal authorities and other law enforcement agencies to combat violent crime.
“In Cleveland, there has been a long history of collaborative partnerships between all levels of law enforcement to address many pressing issues in our community, from violent crime to opioid addiction. In the coming days, we expect to announce additional details regarding a continuation of on-going joint and coordinated federal, state, and local investigative efforts to address violent crime in and around the city. This will build off of successful crime reduction strategies in the past, such as Operation We-R-CLE, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and our Heroin-Opioid Task Force.
Every life taken as a result of violent crime in Cleveland is a tragedy. In order to reduce the number of those tragedies, the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Marshals Service are collectively committed to working cooperatively with the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Division of Police, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and many other state and local agencies to drive down violent crime in our hometown.
We will always coordinate these joint efforts through federal task forces that draw upon the strengths of each participating agency. Each of these violent crime reduction initiatives ultimately operates under the strategic guidance and leadership of the United States Attorney. Our goal is to save the lives of Cleveland’s own, and that is exactly what we will do.”
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