CHICAGO — A new command post in River North marks the launch of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s new tool to help fight crime downtown.

The new command post sits between restaurants and nightlife at Clark and Illinois streets. More than 100 of Cook County Sheriff’s officers will work out of this office. They’re coming to this area after downtown has seen a climb in crime since the height of the pandemic.

It may not look like much from the outside, but inside, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) hopes is part of the solution to rising crime in River North.

“This is a force multiplier. The sheriff’s office has been very active on the South and West sides for several years actually, but we need help downtown too,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the post has been operating quietly for several months, ramping up its capabilities.

Sheriff Tom Dart along with CPD Supt. David Brown made a formal announcement Wednesday morning about the new command post in River North and the increased presence of Sheriff’s Police in the area. 

Hopkins said the deputies won’t all be there at the same time, but can be summoned at any time to help Chicago police. There will be an emphasis on trying to cut down organized retail thefts.

Wednesday’s announcement comes during a violent month in River North. Saturday night, a man was shot five times outside of a crowded night club at Hubbard and LaSalle.

The weekend before that, a man was shot during an attempted robbery at the Godfrey Hotel near Huron and LaSalle. Earlier in the month, police said a man fled a traffic stop and hit four people — including a young girl. He has since been charged.

Hopkins said the neighbors in his ward are worried.

“It’s the sense that criminals are taking over, they’re emboldened and they don’t fear any consequences right now,” he said. “That has to change.”