Chicago Violence

Chicago Police Supt. Brown Discusses Safety Plan Ahead of Fourth of July Weekend

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Chicago police detailed on Thursday the city's public safety plan ahead of the typically violent Fourth of July holiday weekend and according to the city's top cop, not much will be changing.

The Fourth of July holiday weekend plan will follow a similar structure to one laid out at the beginning of summer, which includes what officials are calling a "whole of government approach."

"We had a 10-year low in violence on Memorial Day weekend, we're gonna ride that down until the wheels fall off," Supt. David Brown said. "We want to keep having 10-year lows of violence when we use a strategy - until we have to adjust for some unforeseen thing happening."

The Fourth of July holiday is typically one of the weekends in Chicago that sees the most gun violence. More than 70 people were shot last weekend, including two mass shootings that left two people dead and 15 others wounded in a matter of hours.

Under the city's current plan, officers are switching to 12-hour days with no days off, increased patrols, added deployments along the city's lakefront and more.

As the city continues to see a spike in violence, a group of aldermen have called for a special City Council meeting Friday to discuss the city's public safety stategy.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the meeting is not necessary, but some aldermen are questioning the city's process.

“I don’t like the fact that we did not actively sit down and make a citywide plan," said Ald. Jeannette Taylor.      

Ald. Anthony Beale said he's still unsure what the plan is for the weekend.

"We’re going into a rough weekend, the Fourth of July weekend, our officers are tired, 12-hour shifts, they’ve been working all their days off," Beale said. “What is the plan?” 

The meeting, slated for 11 a.m. Friday, calls for Brown to present his strategy to "increase the safety of all Chicagoans this summer" or face a vote of no confidence if he does not appear. Brown said Thursday that he plans to attend.

Lightfoot said the safety of city residents "is the top priority of my administration" but noted that all city aldermen could have attended three briefings hosted by Brown to discuss summer safety strategies. She also said Brown holds regular weekly calls with individual aldermen to discuss issues specific to their wards.

"Public safety of our city is an important, serious matter," Lightfoot said in a statement. "It is unfortunate that for some, it is being used as a political wedge issue. Nonetheless, I look forward to this special meeting on Friday to provide yet another opportunity for aldermen to be briefed on our whole of government approach to public safety."

Brown also spoke Monday about the city's violence and preparations for the often-violent Fourth of July holiday weekend.

At a press conference, he said the policing strategy in the wake of both mass shootings will "adapt and obviously deploy around the gang conflict."

He noted that officers would make stops, notify known gang members and attempt to use social services and violence interrupters, among other tactics.

In that same press conference, Brown was asked what he can do now to help quell what could be another challenging holiday weekend.

"So again planning, planning, planning obviously to the degree that we're precision deployments around predictable areas for violent crime," he said. "That's probably the more prominent policing strategy we have, as well as, we do want to increase our contacts with the public - both offenders and the general public - who need our presence to feel safer."

Brown said the city saw successes already with such tactics, noting that increased police presence is planned during the four "more violent weekends" in the city, which include Memorial Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, he said.

"Those are the four days," he said. "And so we try to, you know, number one, deploy more officers during those times. And then, at the same time, we actually need to interact with the community much more."

He also added that officers need to feel "encouraged that people in the city appreciate their hard work and service."

"Without the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department risking everything, the best laid plans are wrought with failure," he said.

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