Lightfoot now tells TIME it gives her “confidence” in the program that the Administration is working through U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch, whom she calls a friend. Lausch, for his part, says that bringing federal agents in to work closely with the Chicago Police Department “provides critical help to help us to make sure that we are focusing on the right areas inside the city of Chicago.” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also says he has been in close coordination with his U.S. attorney and local law enforcement about the integration of federal resources into his city.
Others, however, say the rollout has been confusing, and that’s caused concern among residents. Lucas in Kansas City says he was blindsided by the announcement that the city would be part of the program. He says the U.S. attorney gave him a call a couple days prior mentioning vaguely that there was “a plan afoot,” but that he learned the specifics after seeing the announcement about Operation Legend on Twitter. By the time the program was announced, Kansas City had reached 100 homicides this year, a 40% increase over last year.
In Albuquerque, Keller says he got a “courtesy phone call” less than 24 hours in advance of the DOJ announcement, and that it was unusual how little input or insight he had into the matter. Albuquerque, on pace to break its 2019 record for homicides in the city, was added to the Operation Legend list on July 22, but Keller says so far he has not seen any new federal agents come to the city as part of the program.