CHICAGO — After a spate of shootings over the July 4 weekend that left 17 people dead and dozens more wounded, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown is creating a specialized citywide unit that will be quickly deployed to halt sudden outbursts of gun violence.
The department’s announcement this week means that it will have for the first time in nine years the kind of permanent roving team that in the past has has been both praised and come under fire. In the early 2000s a similar unit was credited for a significant drop in homicides but the unit was later shut down after some of its officers committed robberies and home invasions.
A mobile task force was created a few years later but it was disbanded in 2011 amid concerns that it created a divide between police and minority communities.
The Chicago Tribune reported that steps will be taken with this unit to foster trust between police and communities, with officers taking part in things like mentoring young people and helping seniors.
The department hopes the unit will help reduce gun violence in a city that this year has recorded significantly more homicides and shootings compared to the same period last year.