The Justice Department will send nearly 100 federal agents and officers to Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee in an expansion of Operation Legend, a federal crime initiative that began this month, reports USA Today. DOJ will send 42 agents to Detroit and more than 25 each to Cleveland and Milwaukee, cities with rising violent crime rates. The federal officers, drawn from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and other agencies, will help local and state officials in criminal investigations. Attorney General William Barr defends the expansion of Operation Legend, saying it’s targeting cities struggling with violent crime. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says, “If the federal presence is to truly cooperate with local law enforcement, then it is imperative the limits of their activities are clearly delineated and monitored.”
U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger in Milwaukee says federal officers will focus on violent crime, illegal gun cases and slowing the city’s rising homicide rate – not responding to protests or civil unrest. In Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan said he will support the deployment “so long as they are used in the continuing effort to enforce federal laws on illegal gun trafficking and gang violence.” Detroit will receive $1.4 million for crime-fighting efforts and $2.4 million to hire 15 police officers. Cleveland and Milwaukee will receive a larger share of the funding, with each getting about $10 million to hire police and parole officers and state troopers. Cleveland and Milwaukee will also receive $1 million and nearly $2 million, respectively, for crime-fighting efforts. Democrats question whether the expansion of Operation Legend is a legitimate use of law enforcement resources or a stunt to help Trump’s reelection.