KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – At Kansas City Fire Station 18 Monday, U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith came together to talk about the impact and future of “Operation LeGend.”
During the approximate 60 day span the 200 federal agents were in Kansas City, 518 arrests were made. 126 of those suspects were charged with federal crimes and 37 were tied to homicides.
The Kansas City Police Department closed 29 homicide cases and 176 illegal firearms were seized.
Violent crime rates are down about 20% from the weeks before “Operation LeGend” to now.
“This is not a victory lap, that’s not why we’re here. We’re not spiking the football. We’re not declaring victory and going home. There is too much work to do,” U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said.
Lily McQuay lives near where 1-year-old Tyron Payton was murdered and her niece isn’t much older than he was. She says there is a problem in this neighborhood.
“They don’t speak up. They be like, ‘I didn’t see nothing,’ because they don’t want to get it trouble themselves with it. So no they ain’t going to speak up,” McQuay said.
She says it’s up to her and neighbors to change that mentality.
The hope is recent successes in “Operation LeGend” helped earn the community’s trust so citizens will take a bigger role in helping combat crime.
“We need you to speak up and speak out because that’s how we change things. No mother should be burying a young child. No family should know this level of pain. School kids in Kansas City shouldn’t already know homicide victims in their classes,” Mayor Lucas said.
“We cannot arrest and prosecute our way out of this problem. This is a problem that needs participation from the community,” U.S. Attorney Garrison said.
U.S. Attorney Garrison pointed out the promises he made about the operation were kept in that the extra federal boots on the ground was temporary, the Kansas City Police Department remained the lead investigators, the investigation was evidence based, targeted enforcement and not profiling or
harassing the community.
The local field offices of the ATF and FBI have more agents permanently assigned to violent crime cases working along Kansas City police. That’s a part of the on-going “Operation LeGend.”