Preckwinkle, Lightfoot Mull Mayoral Crime Fighting Strategies - NBC Chicago
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Preckwinkle, Lightfoot Mull Mayoral Crime Fighting Strategies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayoral Candidates React to Smollett Case

    The Smolett controversy became an issue in the race for mayor Tuesday as both women spoke about it at a televised candidate forum. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern has the details.

    (Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019)

    In the race for mayor an issue at the very top of the list is fighting crime.

    Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle have opposing views on whether to keep Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson as the city’s top cop.

    With so much focus on violent crime in the city – from this weekend’s high profile death an off duty police officer -- ambushed in the popular river north neighborhood -- to the dropping of charges in the Jussie Smollett case, the candidates have spoken passionately about how to keep the city safe at same time implementing the police consent decree.

    When Chicago's next mayor is sworn in, she will need a plan to execute a plan to deal with crime on day one.

    "They must start to implementation of the consent decree, which is critically important, they must have started the planning for the summer violent season," Lightfoot said Monday night.

    Preckwinkle addressed crime in the NBC 5 Mayoral Forum on March 7.

    "I think it’s really important that we go back to the community policing ideas that we had and practices we had in the '90s, when there were regular beat meetings, and opportunities for community residents and police to get to know each other," she said.

    Preckwinkle wants to immediately replace Johnson as top cop.

    “I’ve said we need a superintendent who acknowledged the challenges we face," Preckwinkle said. "One of those is the code of silence in the police department and the other is racism in the police department and he hasn’t been willing do that."

    Lightfoot says she’d wait until the fall to sit down with Johnson and evaluate his future.

    “After the summer, we’ll do an evaluation of what has happened, whether or not the superintendent has performed his job in a way I think is acceptable," she said.

    Preckwinkle also favors additional oversight of public safety and wants to see a new office of violence prevention within the mayor’s office. Lightfoot notes the city must address the root causes of violence as a public health crisis and increase violence interruption techniques to stop violence before it happens.

    “We have to look at why it is in certain neighborhoods, we see the illegal drug trade is the number one employer," she said.

    But Preckwinkle thinks “we need to be sure our police officers are better trained, that they’re better supervised, that they’re held accountable for performance."

    The candidates for mayor also support a civilian police board that can hire and fire a police superintendent. Also on the to do list? Negotiating a new police contract.

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