CHICAGO — In the runoff election for Chicago mayor, public safety is front and center.

Finalist Paul Vallas stated that “when I become mayor, public safety will be guaranteed in every community.” Brandon Johnson echoed those sentiments, saying, “for too long, we’ve allowed for an oversimplistic approach to public safety.”

Monday morning, standing with 36 people elected to Chicago’s new Police District Council, Johnson elaborated on his plan to reduce crime. The mayoral candidate wants to train and promote 200 detectives from within CPD’s existing ranks. He has also stressed the need to bring CPD into greater compliance with court-mandated reforms. Under his tenure, Johnson would also push for EMTs and social workers to respond to more police calls.

Johnson would also want more youth employment.

“In order to have a safer Chicago, we’re going to double the amount of people we hire in the city of Chicago because there’s a direct correlation between youth employment and violence reduction,” Johnson said.

Vallas, backed by Chicago’s rank-and-file police union, is calling for proactive policing to crackdown on crime.

Vallas’ plan includes replenishing the department’s ranks, creating a city-operated protection plan for victims and witnesses, staffing CTA with a police unit and building a Forensic Crime Lab to analyze crime evidence. 

“And what does public safety look like? Public safety looks like having police officers on every beat who you know by name and by badge number and who know you,” Vallas said.

As the campaigns spread their message, time is running out. Early voting begins next Monday.

In a sign the April 4 runoff may be tightening, Vallas went negative over the weekend launching this TV commercial: 

“Chicago can’t afford Brandon Johnson’s risky proposals to raise taxes and defund the police.”

Endorsements for Johnson and Vallas keep pouring in but one prominent politician is promising not to get involved. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said Monday he’s talked to both men and looks forward to working with the winner.