Federal law enforcement agencies will work with local and state police in Indianapolis to try to control gun violence and other crime.
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler announced the initiative at a press conference Aug. 14 alongside members of federal law enforcement, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor.
Operation Legend includes the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which will target violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations, Minkler said.
Operation Legend began in Kansas City, Missouri, in early July and will be in Indianapolis for 45 days, Minkler said.
Indianapolis has had 144 homicides to date, Hogsett said at the press conference, which marks a 50% increase from this time last year. Indianapolis is not alone in that trend, though, as cities across the country — including Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans — deal with rises in homicides and other violent crimes.
The operation will also include $250,000 for IMPD and another $25,000 in reward money related to the unsolved 2015 killing of 10-year-old De’Shaun Swanson.
“It will take massive efforts, both preventive and punitive, for us to get through this unprecedented time,” Hogsett said in a statement. “It will also take continued collaboration between neighborhoods most impacted by violent crime and those investigating that crime. These are all parts of addressing this challenge.”
There will be 57 federal investigators as part of the project in Indianapolis.
Minkler said Operation Legend is not related to immigration enforcement or recent protests.
The introduction of federal law enforcement into Indianapolis will still draw criticism, though, in part because of documented examples of unmarked federal troops grabbing people off of the streets in Portland, Oregon, recently during protests.
The ACLU of Indiana said in a statement it will “stay sharp-eyed in monitoring the federal agents to ensure the abusive tactics seen in other American cities are not implemented here.”
“We will not permit the federal government to intrude upon our state to violate the Constitutional rights of Hoosiers,” the statement said.
A heavier law enforcement presence also flies in the face of demands to “defund the police” and lessen police presence in Indianapolis, as voiced by Indy10 Black Lives Matter and other groups and people who have taken to the streets in protest since late May.
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.