Dozens of Chicago police officers will soon be assigned to specialized units targeting gangs and weapons as part of a newly-announced strategy to crackdown on crime citywide, the city's police superintendent revealed Friday.
Officers from the Chicago Police Department's community safety teams will either be reassigned to the Gang, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit or the city's Carjacking Taskforce as communities experience a surge in violent crime.
"We're going after gangs, and we're going to do it constitutionally," CPD Supt. David Brown said. "We want to make sure we don't violate anyone's rights. But gangs are out of control in this city. And we're going after them to hold them accountable."
The Gang Investigation Unit will focus on high-level investigations to take down organizations "that drive the gun violence throughout our city," and concentrate on apprehending gun straw purchasers, those who buy firearms for people who are unable to legally do so, according to CPD Deputy Chief of Gang Investigations Gilberto Calderon.
Forty officers will be transferred to assist detectives with the rising number carjackings that have occurred in recent months.
Furthermore, next week Mayor Lori Lightfoot will introduce the Chicago Street Gang Ordinance, which seeks to impose civil penalties on gangs that commit crimes.
"It is a very strategic move that the city is taking, which I fully support," Brown said. "So, basically taking their stuff. Take the glamour off of being in a gang."
Similar measures, known as Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws, have been in effect federally since the 1970s.
However, some say Lightfoot's decision is a way to bypass or maneuver around the response from criminal courts.
"We've got to put a marker down that as a city, we are using every tool in our toolkit to push back against these violent gangs that are leaving a trail of blood and death and misery," the mayor said.
The ordinance must be approved by the City Council.