INDIANAPOLIS — United States Attorney General William Barr delivered remarks on Operation Legend in Indianapolis Thursday.
Barr joined U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Randal Taylor in a law enforcement roundtable discussion.
Operation Legend is a federal effort to reduce gun violence in Indianapolis unveiled on August 14.
U.S. Attorney Minkler opened the discussion by explaining the program was created “in response to the dramatic increase in violence that we were experiencing here in Indianapolis.”
Minkler introduced Attorney General Barr who began by thanking law enforcement officials including IMPD Chief Taylor. Barr said Operation Legend is currently running in nine American cities in response to recent increases in violent crime.
“It’s the principal duty of government to protect the lives of citizens,” said Barr as he recounted the record-high level of violent crime when he was last Attorney General in the early 1990s.
“Thousands of lives have been saved by the actions by police departments working with federal law enforcement agencies to drive these violent crime rates down,” said Barr. “Unfortunately with COVID, with some of the demonization of our police departments and a number of other reasons , we’ve seen violent crime going up in a number of our cities over the last few months.”
Chief Taylor said “I appreciate all of our federal partners. We’re about 54 murders up from where we were this time last year. [Operation] Legend I know is helping us in combating those numbers, and I’m very confident that as it continues to move forward we’ll see those benefits as a city.”
Minkler reported that the combined efforts of this operation since August 14 has resulted in 216 crime guns, 1,731 grams of heroin, 1211 grams of fentanyl, 27,644 grams of methamphetamine, and over $1.5 million in drug proceeds have been taken off the streets of Indianapolis.
88 fugitives have been arrested by U.S. Marshalls, including 15 for homicides, 14 for robberies and 8 for sexual assaults.
Unfortunately, since October 1st when there was a fatal shooting on Taft, Indy has still seen 26 homicides in 22 days this month.
“Our streets are not as safe as they could be; are not as safe as they should be. But our streets are safer,” said Minkler in closing.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Operation Legend would continue past its original 45-day plan.
“We want these violent criminals off the streets,” said Aaron Williams.
Aaron Williams, with the City of Peace Coalition, praised the federal efforts primarily because they have actively engaged community groups looking to slow the violence.
“We are grateful of the work Operation Legend has done,” said Williams. “This hasn’t just been a one-sided effort with law enforcement. It’s been a joint effort with the community.”