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25-30 federal agents coming to Milwaukee through 'Operation Legend'

NOW: 25-30 federal agents coming to Milwaukee through ’Operation Legend’

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Between 25 and 30 federal agents will be coming to Milwaukee through the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshal Service and the DEA to expand on existing partnerships with the Milwaukee Police Department.

“These aren’t beat cops," Wisconsin Eastern District U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said. "These are trained investigators, who do often longer term investigations or who know how to do a deeper dive on things.”

Milwaukee is one of six cities currently involved in "Operation Legend," along with Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City and Albequerque.

The city’s homicide rate is currently 85 percent higher than it was at this time last year.

“That’s the reason why we need to focus our attention to reduce violent crime in this area,” Milwaukee FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Hughes said.

In addition to the federal agents, the operation will provide more than $10.1 million to the Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Cudahy Police Departments to help hire 29 officers, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. The operation will provide an additional $1.9 million toward crime reduction efforts in Milwaukee.

“That’s going to allow us to deal with issues like sex trafficking, like violent crime, gun crime, and that’s what we’re interested in,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Krueger said the operation will not shift off of that purpose. He wanted to make it clear Operation Legend is entirely separate from when Homeland Security agents were sent to Portland, Oregon, which caused nationwide controversy.

Barrett said leaders throughout Wisconsin want to make sure the agents don’t end up confronting protesters.

“We’re going to look at this and make sure you are not using these federal officials to make us another Portland.”

The first ten officers have already been assigned to Milwaukee temporarily to provide immediate assistance. The remaining officers will be sent over the course of the rest of the year, and are expected to remain permanently.

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