Chicago police release summer safety plan as possible teen gatherings planned for this weekend
CHICAGO - Summer now feels closer than ever and city leaders, including the Chicago Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management, are sharing their summer citywide safety plan.
If you are downtown this summer, especially on weekend nights, you will see a lot more police officers in and around Millennium Park.
"We didn't have any information that things were going to show up," said CPD Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott. "When they did show up, it took us a while to mobilize our resources."
This after police were caught off guard last month when a large group of teens gathered.
Many were peaceful, but others attacked people on the sidewalks, beat on parked cars and shots were fired.
While police have to protect the whole city, including summer activities, festivals and parades, this is priority number one for Chief McDermott.
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"We noticed in the past that when the teens saw the prisoner vans they change their behavior, so additional prisoner vans, I don't think anyone here is suggesting that we go out and lock up every teen that's downtown dancing on the street. I think what we can do better is do a better job of identifying those who are engaged in criminal activity and placing those individuals in custody," said McDermott.
This doesn’t mean that neighborhoods will not be patrolled.
"We are down personnel, but we have evolved our matrix in our career deployments, and we do have enough personnel without pulling personnel districts to go on these large gatherings in the downtown area," said Chief McDermott.
Already, police have heard of two possible teen gatherings this weekend, both on the South Side and both on Saturday.
CPD will also continue to have a presence on CTA, with platform checks and roll calls. They will monitor parades, festivals and car caravans with the help of the Office of Emergency Management.