MEMPHIS, Tenn. (News Nation/WREG) — The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal, state and local law enforcement will launch Operation Legend on Thursday.
The initiative is a federal effort to curb violent crime in Memphis and was “created as a result of President [Donald] Trump’s promise to assist America’s cities that are plagued by recent violence,” a news release from the Department of Justice from July said.
According to officials, approximately 40 agents will be given temporary assignments in Memphis to focus on violent crimes. There will also be an increase in resources to help local authorities.
On Thursday, Mayor Jim Strickland released the following statement about the operation:
“I would just like to reiterate what U.S. Attorney Dunavant has said about Operation Legend; it ‘is a violent crime reduction effort, with additional resources being provided to federal, state, and local law enforcement to assist in traditional crime-fighting directed at gang violence, narcotics-related shootings, and illegal firearms. That’s what it is. What it is not is an introduction of federal riot police, uniformed personnel, or other federal agents to protect federal property, and is not intended to introduce any additional ICE resources to enforce immigration offenses.’ As I said earlier this week, we need more officers to investigate violent crimes to get violent criminals off our streets. As long as these federal agents are focused on this task, we will be supportive.”
The news comes as Memphis had one of its deadliest months in history — reporting more than 40 homicides. The previous record for a month was 29. Last July there were 15 recorded homicides, according to the Memphis Police Department.
To date, Memphis has recorded more than 170 murders with at least 20 of those being children. Homicides are up 49%, gun crimes are up 23% and aggravated asssault shootings are up 19%.
This time last year, Memphis had about 102 murders. This year the city has reported 154.
The record of 228 homicides in a year was set in 2016.