Chicago police saturate lakefront to help avoid Memorial Day violence

There was a massive show of force on this hot Memorial Day by the Chicago Police Department.

The goal was to stem the violence that often mars hot holiday weekends.

One spot CPD saturated was Chicago’s lakefront.

Beaches were jam packed Monday up and down the lakefront -- so many people and nowhere to park. That’s why Chicago police began shutting down some of the exits on North Lake Shore Drive, trying to keep roads and parking lots clear for emergency vehicles.

“As you can see the beaches are just absolutely full,” said Deputy Police Chief Al Nagode.

Nagode says they were ready with 1500 additional officers assigned to work on Memorial Day.

There were a small number of arrests, mostly for drinking and a few fights. But nothing like the huge beach brawl at North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day two years ago, involving scores of people.

"We've done a lot of different things to put things ibn place to make sure we have officers in the right place at the right location so we're combatting the violence that's out there,” Nagode said.

New this year was a North Side bike patrol team. Thirty officers used pedal power to get to places most squad cars can't go.

"We can get into alleys, into streets much quicker actually sometimes than a squad car can, especially if there's an emergency of some sort,” said Sgt. Fran Vergara. "It's so much more personable because we are on bikes, and we're so much closer to the people than being in a vehicle."

Police say they also strictly enforced the no-alcohol rule on the lakefront, conducting bag checks and forcing people who brought booze to the beach to dump it -- or face a ticket or arrest.

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