WASHINGTON --Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other police chiefs as part of an effort to secure more federal help to combat violent crime.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says in an email, Thursday's meeting in Washington is expected to focus on how the federal government can help target violence in urban areas.
Guglielmi says Johnson will ask for more federal prosecutors to focus on illegal gun cases involving felons, more federal agents to curb gangs and gun crime, and a federal ballistics lab.
Chicago has been singled out by President Donald Trump for its surge in shootings.
Johnson previously said he'd welcome more agents and money for mentorship and after-school programs to help kids in violent neighborhoods and, in turn, reduce crime.
At an event on the southeast side of Chicago, U.S. senator Dick Durbin said the president's budget and the attorney general's hands-off approach to reform would not help solve Chicago's crime problem.
“This President’s budget – which we received today -- is a disaster when it comes to everything other than the department of defense, looking for help from Washington is going to be a real task.”
The comments came hours after Chicago's top cop met with the attorney general.
“Yes we're asking for additional federal support and some of that being more federal agents coming to Chicago so he was receptive to that, so I am optimistic about moving forward," said Johnson.
Aside from the resources, there is the issue of reform and the lingering question of what will happen to the Department of Justice's recommendations for changes at CPD outlined in a scathing report issued under previous attorney general Loretta Lynch.
Sessions signaled that under his leadership, the DOJ would take a hands-off approach.
“They know better than we do. The Department of Justice is not used to walking the streets of our cities, talking to citizens, and dealing with assaults and rapes and drug dealers – that’s not our world," said Sessions .
Dick Durbin feels differently.
“Listen, we can’t solve the crime problem in Chicago with tweets and hands-off approach, we need a president whose engaged," said Durbin.
In the meantime, Johnson says he'll keep the lined of communication open between his office and the attorney general's.
“I think that we both want to be flexible, and we both understand, and, you know-like CPD, we need to reform, and we agreed to work collaboratively to reform CPD," he said.
Johnson's trip to Washington continues tomorrow, with more meetings on driving down gun crime.