Suburban police chief wants metro area task force to address carjackings

A suburban police chief wants to create a metro area task force to address the recent spike in carjackings that he says are "not only a Chicago problem."

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said the suburbs could benefit from a regional task force that mimics the one started a year ago by the Chicago Police Department.

"We’ve seen a disturbing number of carjacking’s the past few months in the area surrounding Riverside," Weitzel said.

"This crime is screaming for a regional response," he said in an interview.

Weitzel said the regional task force could be a shared effort between Chicago and suburban police departments, the FBI, ATF, sheriff’s office, Cook County state’s attorney office and federal prosecutors.

"This combined effort would go a long way in quickly shutting down these violent robberies," Weitzel said.


The first step toward creating the task force would most likely be taken by the "big players," CPD and the FBI, Weitzel said.

The metro area could benefit even from a short-term task force, for maybe 90 days, or even from just sharing intelligence between agencies, he said.

"We need to put in resources, even if it’s for a short period of time," he said.

Last week, CPD Supt. David Brown said he was beefing up the city’s carjacking task force to address the surge in carjackings, which have more than doubled in the past year.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot reportedly planned to hold a meeting Friday with suburban mayors and police chiefs to talk about a regional solution.