ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After President Trump’s announcement that 35 federal officers will arrive in Albuquerque to combat crime under “Operation Legend,” there are many concerns about what these officer’s roles will actually be. “They should call, they should want it, they are too proud, they are too political to do that. One of them is Albuquerque, New Mexico,” said President Trump.
Thirty-five FBI, ATF, DEA and Homeland Security Investigators are on their way to Albuquerque under “Operation Legend,” which is supposed to combat violent crime in the city. The President’s announcement has state and local leaders skeptical, especially ever since the feds deployed officers in Portland, which have been violent towards protestors.
The deployment of federal investigators is said to be because of an uptick in violent crime, but Albuquerque Police said violent crime like homicides, which had a record high of 82 cases in 2019 is actually down. As of July 2020, Albuquerque has 37, compared to 44 this time in 2019 and the year before.
“We’re very concerned about this concept where its a real bait and switch,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. Keller told CNN he’s concerned the federal officers are here for other reasons.
“We’ve been told nothing and usually we get formal MOUs (memorandum of understandings), details, there’s task forces that are put in place,” said Keller. “We have received no formal documentation on this at all.”
The FBI says these federal agents will be working in plainclothes alongside APD and BCSO for pre-existing task forces. Those task forces could be the joint task force “Operation Relentless Pursuit,” which aims to take high-profiled criminals off the streets. It’s an initiative U.S. Attorney General William Barr established in Albuquerque in 2019.
The mayor said he welcomes the help but only if it doesn’t turn into another Portland. “Until the President will put in writing an in a MOU agreement that this is not Portland and I will never repeat Portland, that’s not what this is and then agree to city ordinances which we have to protect people of color and immigrants, then we can work together,” said Keller.
U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, John Anderson, insists “Operation Legend” is completely different than what is currently going on in Portland.