CHICAGO — After first demanding a public safety committee hearing to talk about Chicago violence, aldermen have now called a special City Council meeting on Friday.
The aldermen want to hear from Chicago Police Supt. David Brown and what safety plan he has in place for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.
If the superintendent fails to appear, the council says they will issue a vote of no confidence.
On Tuesday, more than 20 city council members called on the public safety committee chairman to hold hearings this week, following the recent explosion in gun violence.
The group wants Ald. Chris Taliaferro to have hearings on:
- The Chicago Police Department’s summer mobile patrol unit, community safety team and reallocation of officers and resources.
- Officer scheduling, deployment strategies, and programs or incentives for officer fatigue.
- Examining the success of technologies used to manage crime-fighting operations and personnel shortages.
It remains to be seen whether the meeting will actually happen, at least 26 of the 50 members of Council must be present in order for a meeting to take place. So seven members who did not sign the letter must show up.
Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) is on board.
“I think we’re in a state of emergency right now,” Villegas said. “We’ve got to get a plan together and we want to work collaboratively with the CPD. We have community partners that are on the sideline waiting to assist but we need some direction there.”
This isn’t the first time the Council has called an emergency meeting. Last year, Ald. Raymond Lopez and Ald. Anthony Beale convened the Council to demand Mayor Lightfoot ask National Guard to operate on the streets. In the end, Lopez and Beale lost the vote.
This time around, Lopez led the push.
“We’ve seen violence escalating every weekend since April and year to date contrary to what the mayor says we are doing worse than we did last year,” Ald. Lopez said.
At this time, it’s not clear yet whether Supt. Brown will attend the meeting.
On Wednesday evening, Mayor Lightfoot released the following statement.
“The safety of our residents is the top priority of my administration. Residents must feel safe in our city, and we remain committed to being transparent about our plans to ensure that all Chicagoans feel protected.
Since April, all fifty aldermen were given the opportunity to attend three separate, formal briefings hosted by the Superintendent and his team covering the Police Department’s plan for summer deployments, summer operations, and the summer safety strategy. In addition, the Superintendent and senior members of the department have a regular cadence of calls with individual aldermen to discuss ward-specific matters. The Superintendent also holds a regular weekly press conference to review the previous week’s events. These formal opportunities are in addition to CAPS meetings and other ways in which aldermen and the public can interface regarding citywide, ward, or neighborhood-specific issues or concerns.
Public safety of our city is an important, serious matter. It is unfortunate that for some, it is being used as a political wedge issue. Nonetheless, I look forward to this special meeting on Friday to provide yet another opportunity for aldermen to be briefed on our whole of government approach to public safety.”
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