Chicago Police Prepare For Violent Fourth Of July Weekend
By Leonor Vivanco, Chicago Tribune
Saying he was "sick and tired" of the violence plaguing the city, Chicago's top cop announced Friday that thousands more law enforcement officers would hit the streets, lakefront and major tourist attractions, including Navy Pier, this Fourth of July weekend.
Within the past 24 hours, three people had died and 21 more were wounded in violence across the city: this on the eve of the July Fourth weekend, typically one of the most violent holiday weekends of the year.
On the heels of the violence between Thursday and Friday morning, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called a news conference to discuss this weekend's policing strategy, and he called the level of crime in the city unacceptable.
"I'm sick and tired of it and I know the people who live in those communities are tired of it," Johnson told reporters during the news conference at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "I get tired every morning of getting briefed on all these shootings and these murders that's occurring in Chicago. Any leader in the city of Chicago, if they're not upset and angry about the level of violence in this city, then they shouldn't be a leader."
More than 5,000 law enforcement officers — from the Chicago Police Department, the FBI, the Illinois State Police and Cook County sheriff's police — will be patrolling city streets, expressways, parks and CTA stations every day over the holiday weekend. Chicago will see more officers on bike patrol and on foot too, as well as on traffic enforcement. The figure is "several thousand" more than a typical deployment, a police spokesman said.
Additionally, Chicago police will use two helicopters and state police will use fixed-wing aircraft to patrol the area. State troopers also will target high-crime areas on Chicago expressways and the surrounding areas as well as be looking for motorists who are speeding, driving under the influence, not wearing seat belts or distracted behind the wheel, said Director Leo Schmitz.