Chicago Police Supt. David Brown says that the so-called “strike force” teams that will be deployed by the federal government to help combat gun violence will only be one part of a multi-pronged approach that will be employed in the coming weeks and months.
During a press availability Tuesday, Brown said that the deployment of strike forces will coincide with increases in funding for a variety of other initiatives and programs, and that he hopes the approach will pay dividends.
“It’s monies and support for impacts on the public safety ecosystem,” he said. “It’s a whole government approach. That’s unique. We haven’t had that from the top.”
President Joe Biden announced the decision to deploy the strike force teams earlier this summer. According to the Biden administration, the strike force teams will coordinate with the ATF, and will work to combat gun trafficking, which Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other officials have blamed for the proliferation of illegal guns into the city.
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The strike force teams will be deployed to several major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
It is unclear when the teams will arrive, according to officials.
Brown met with Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland at the White House on Monday, with officials discussing solutions to recent increases in the number of shootings and murders in 2021.
The superintendent says that there will be funding for law enforcement, largely pulled from the American Rescue Plan, but also says that funding will also be given out for a variety of other programs, including job programs and other grants.
“It’s so encouraging that funding for these outreach programs for our young people, for jobs and the like, is part of the public safety effort,” he said. “If you’d had that in the 90’s, we’d be in a different place right now. Some of this is short-term, but a lot of this will be a long-term strategy that will impact young people and adults, aiming to change their behavior.”
Even as Brown and other officials express optimism about the new programs and the strike forces, activists in Chicago say that more needs to be done to loop in the community, and those leaders that have been working to combat gun violence in their neighborhoods.
“You have David Brown going to the White House, and not one time has he sat down with community leaders,” Lamar Johnson, a violence prevention coordinator at St. Sabina Church, said. “You have to talk to the people who are actually on the ground doing the work every single day.”