CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Chicago streets will have an extra 1,000 cops on patrol each day of the Memorial Day weekend, as the Chicago Police Department beefs up normal police presence with special units, traffic enforcement and more officers in the city’s parks and beaches, Chicago Police officials said Friday.
The stepped-up patrols are common for the unofficial start of summer, a holiday weekend that last year saw six people killed and 63 shot from Friday evening through early Tuesday. As with most holidays in the summer months, CPD officials solicited volunteers to cover extra shifts over the weekend, and canceled time off to ramp up staffing, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
With the city seeing slight declines so far this year from the bloody pace of shootings in 2016, when the city recorded more than 760 murders, the deployment of CPD personnel included a media friendly addition to the patrol division: Supt. Eddie Johnson will join patrols throughout the weekend.
Johnson was on hand at a press conference with State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and federal prosecutors Friday morning for what might qualify as the first event of efforts to tamp down Memorial Day violence, the announcement of state and federal charges against nearly 50 members of the Gangster Two-Six Nation street gang.
“As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, (police are) sending a clear message to those driving violence: We will come at you with everything that we have to make our communities safe,” said Johnson, who spent Thursday in Springfield, lobbying legislators for tougher sentences for repeat gun-offenders.
Johnson is expected to lay out more details of the holiday weekend deployment of officers at a 2 p.m. press conference at CPD headquarters.
CPD officers will also get help from an undisclosed number of Illinois State Police troopers.
Last year, the six murders over Memorial Day weekend marked a decline in from the 12 homicides during the same span in 2015, the summer was one of the bloodiest in the city in nearly two decades. May 2016 ended with 66 murders, a 40-percent increase from the same month the year before. So far in May, there have been 40 murders.