FOX 32 NEWS - A new voter opinion survey indicates Mayor Rahm Emanuel got a political boost from the new anti-violence plan he outlined in a big speech Thursday night, and he and his top deputies continued to push the agenda Friday.
On Friday morning, the mayor joined in a series of team-building exercises with young men at Morgan Park High School on the Far South Side. Each participates in the Becoming a Man, or BAM, program. Emanuel has committed $12 million a year over the next three years to more than double the size of it.
“We have to focus on skills and training to get 'em in the work force. And that's exactly what we're doing from our community colleges, to Skills Chicagoland, to the Cook County Chicago Skills Workforce; to give them something they hadn't had in the past, so they can have a future,” Emanuel said.
FOX 32: People who are skeptical about this "social work" approach - what do you say to them?
“I wouldn't call it a "social work approach." What I would say is it's a comprehensive approach. There's a policing approach. There's a part of the approach that says repeat violent offenders, the dangerous people, we need to make sure that they're getting appropriate sentences. There's an investment, economic approach. Because too many of these young people and too many of our adults don't have access to real economic opportunity,” said Andrea Zopp, Deputy Mayor and Chief of Neighborhood Development.
Even as the mayor's deputies were also pushing his anti-violence agenda, Emanuel took a pre-dawn three mile run with cadets at the Chicago Police Academy. It's getting new instructors and a new curriculum in advance of hundreds of new hires.
“We have already started a new form of de-escalation training. So that officers can de-escalate situations a lot better than we used to. And we're also in the process of changing our Use of Force policy. We brought in experts from around the country to evaluate the program. And once we roll that out, we think that our Use of Force training will be a model for the country,” Supt. Johnson said.
Emanuel’s speech Thursday night appeared to boost the mayor's dismal standing with Chicago voters. A poll by Victory Research found a majority of voter who knew of Emanuel's address liked it, and it boosted his approval rating from a grim 33% beforehand to 44% afterwards.