Chicago City Officials Discuss Safety Plans Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Chicago City Officials Discuss Safety Plans Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend – City officials announced Chicago’s summer safety plan on Thursday in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend.

Mayor Brandon Johnson was flanked by top public safety officials during a news conference at the 63rd Street Beach. CBS 2’s Tara Molina was there for the announcement where officials said police patrols will be increased this weekend.

While few details were shared, officials said all officers will have one day off canceled in order to cover the city this holiday weekend.

“I want to share that my administration’s top priority is making sure that there is a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy across the city and is keeping everyone safe,” Johnson said.

The mayor assured the community that genuine partnerships will be behind a seamless response whenever needed and called safety the top priority.

Johnson was joined by a number of neighborhood and community organizations while announcing a $2.5 million investment by the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities to support violence prevention and youth outreach efforts across the city and work across 24 communities on the South and West Sides. That starts with activities this weekend that will continue through the end of the school year and the beginning of Chicago Park District programming.

“We want the kids to have something to do,” said Marcus Mitchell, an outreach supervisor for the Institute for Non-Violence Chicago based in West Garfield Park.

CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman spoke to Kenneth Griffin, a Chicago police officer who also runs No Matter What, a nonprofit in Englewood. His is one of five grassroots organizations that will get a piece of that $2.5 million aimed at curbing violence.

“This is the opportunity for the mayor to throw resources directly into the community and to help these young people understand you don’t have to commit crimes,” Griffin said. “You don’t have to be a part of the violence that exists.”

Griffin plans to have young people help build a community garden in Englewood.

Interim Police Superintendent Fred Waller said there will be an increased police presence across the city and that all officers will have the one day off canceled to ensure the city is covered over the weekend.

“This is a standard procedure and officers will receive overtime pay for this,” Waller said. “It’s what we do to ensure we have personnel in place for Memorial Day weekend and other major holiday weekends.”

Waller said that could continue through the summer and that it’s not anything new.

The mayor’s focus was clear on community and collaboration, but not police and first responders.

“It was more of a focus on the community and on larger collaborative efforts than I have seen in past years,” said Arthur Lurigio, a criminologist and professor at Loyola University.

CBS 2 asked Lurigio about the plan. He’s seen dozens of announcements like the one made on Thursday.

“The difference between today’s press conference regarding summer events and crime was that there was less explicit focus on the police department,” he said.

Lurigio pointed to the police saturation efforts. Officials said there will be a focus on downtown and in the city’s neighborhoods, especially after “large group incidents” playing out in the downtown area earlier this spring.