Surge of federal agents leaves many questions unanswered

Protesters walk through chemical irritants dispersed by federal agents at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Following a larger Black Lives Matter Rally, several hundred demonstrators faced off against federal officers at the courthouse. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Protesters walk through chemical irritants dispersed by federal agents at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Following a larger Black Lives Matter Rally, several hundred demonstrators faced off against federal officers at the courthouse. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) (Noah Berger)

CHICAGO – President Donald Trump offered few details when he announced this week that the government will dispatch hundreds of extra federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to fight an uptick in violent crime.

The absence of a clear, publicly available plan has left city leaders, residents and even federal agencies to speculate about exactly what will happen and when. Here’s a look at what’s known so far:

Q: WHAT DO TRUMP AND OTHER FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAY?

A: Trump said hundreds of agents will be drawn from the Justice Department, which includes the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The number of agents involved is not clear. Attorney General Bill Barr suggested at one point that around 200 new agents could end up in Chicago.

A Justice Department press release said Chicago would receive 100 new federal investigators. It also said 100 officers from the U.S. Marshal’s Service and 100 from the Homeland Security Department would be reassigned to the Chicago portion of a crime-fighting effort known as Operation Legend, which was launched last month in Kansas City, Missouri. Many of those agents are already based in and around Chicago. The release said Albuquerque would get more than 25 new federal investigators.

On Thursday, the Justice Department said it also planned to send agents to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee in coming weeks.

Q: IS THIS DEPLOYMENT SIMILAR TO THE ONE INVOLVING PORTLAND, OREGON?