William Barr, the US Attorney General had a press conference Friday and announced that under a Federal Task Force called Operation Legend the Chicago Police Department will be funded again, and able to increase crime-stopping technology for the people in Chicago, the site of some of the worse Urban crime and murder in the United States.
“Crime Is Down And Order Is Being Restored,” Barr told the media.
The announcement came a week after it was reported Operation Legend had cut the murder rate in Chicago in Barr said that Federal action helped cut the Chicago murder rate in half with Operation Legend a deterrent with ‘real possibility of long-term imprisonment’.
From the DOH Press Release:
As a designated Operation Legend city, the Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $3.5 million in funding to reimburse the Chicago Police Department and City of Chicago for the work of local law enforcement on the federal task forces supporting Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts. The COPS Office has also made $9.375 million available to the Chicago Police Department to fund the hiring of 75 officers.
Immediately following the press conference, Attorney General Barr visited the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) 7th District, where he met with the CPD superintendent, the 7th district commander, and officers. During his time at CPD, the Attorney General received briefings on active cases, as well as on the technologies, such as shot spotters and LPRs, that CPD is utilizing to help them prevent violent crime and enforce the law. The Attorney General then went on a ride-along to the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago with the commander of the 7th district.
Today, the Attorney General and DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea held a press conference at the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division to announce the results of Operation Crystal Shield, a DEA-led initiative targeting the command and control elements of Mexican cartels that operate major methamphetamine “transportation hubs” throughout the United States. Joined by DEA Chief of Operations Chris Evans, DEA Special Agent in Charge Cheri Oz, and U.S. Attorney Michael Bailey, AG Barr and Acting Administrator Shea announced that since Operation Crystal Shield was launched in February 2020, the DEA seized nearly 29,000 pounds of methamphetamine, $43.3 million in drug proceeds, and 284 firearms.
WGN, local Chicago News had an exclusive interview with Barr, Thursday.
“The nation’s top law enforcement officer was not shy about his approach to violent crime. As shootings and murders soared in Chicago this summer, he assigned more than 200 federal agents to stem the bloodshed. In many cases, that’s meant picking-up where local prosecutors and judges leave off,” WGN reported.
“When I was down in the district they went over the number of cases where a very violent guy with the number of prior felonies – 7 or 8 felonies and violence and guns involved – were let out on the street and committed another homicide,” he said. “They were let out on the street and committed another homicide. That’s not the exception, that’s increasingly the rule around here. These people have criminal records and have to be taken off the streets,” Barr said.
In the last two months, federal prosecutors have charged 124 people in Chicago, 90 involved gun crimes. Among them was Javonte Williams. Williams was arrested and prosecuted locally for possessing an illegal handgun while looting in August.
Barr said he would love to see “progressive prosecutors” voted out of office.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot initially fought the federal intervention fearing it would be a Portland-style occupation. But the mission in Chicago and in nearly a dozen other cities has been different.
“I think the rule here should be there are no absolute rules and yes, generally it’s best not to put out information piecemeal and have all the facts come out together,” Barr said. “But in the current environment where we’re operating, where there’s rioting and property destruction and so forth, sometimes there should be exceptions to that.”
Barr did not say how much longer Chicago can expect the extra federal resources to stick around.
Lightfoot did not meet with the attorney general during his visit, instead of sending him a letter that now asks for more help on the federal front, including universal background checks and more money to trace gun crimes.