Watch CBS News

Chicago Decides: Ald. Timmy Knudsen, challenger Brian Comer agree crime is main issue in 43rd Ward

Chicago Decides: Ald. Timmy Knudsen, Brian Comer face off in 43rd Ward
Chicago Decides: Ald. Timmy Knudsen, Brian Comer face off in 43rd Ward 06:39

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Incumbent Ald. Timmy Knudsen and challenger Brian Comer both agreed crime is the most serious issue facing the 43rd Ward as they face off in the runoff election.

The ward is made up of the Lincoln Park neighborhood and a part of the Gold Coast. Both candidates spoke with CBS 2's Marie Saavedra about their platforms.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed Knudsen – who had been Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals chairman – to the 43rd Ward seat after Ald. Michele Smith retired last summer. Challenger Comer is president of the Sheffield Neighborhood Association and a beat facilitator for the Near North (18th) District – of which the section of the ward south of Fullerton Avenue is part.

Knudsen – who has also worked as an attorney with the law firm Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres – said he hopes to continue using his leadership that he learned in both the public and private sectors.

He said crime is at the top of the minds of many 43rd Ward residents – and touted some achievements he has made in passing crime-fighting legislation.

"I know this from knocking the doors. From day one being in offices. We funded more cameras; more police observation devices, through our ward's infrastructure budgets," he said. I've been able to sponsor three bills cracking down on illegal guns, increasing safety, and protecting against crimes against first responders on Council."

If reelected, Knudsen said he would focus on a community policing approach.

Comer also said public safety is a "massive issue."

"It's actually issue one, two, and three but our residents – but also academic development, constituent services, fully funding our schools, and making sure we have proper green space for our wonderful residents and business owners," he said.

In touting his policy plan for public safety, Comer said there is a 2,000 deficit of Chicago Police officers citywide – or 80 officers not on the street in the Near North (18th) and Town Hall (19th) districts. He suggested a program that would involve DePaul University students who need to pay off their student debt.

"DePaul University – wonderful graduates. Most of those students are on financial aid. I want to develop a pilot program with them and the CPD to recruit their college graduates and ask them to serve the CPD for four years. At the end of that fourth year, we'll provide them a bonus payment commensurate to one year's worth of college tuition," Comer said. "That's a huge carrot for a mid-20s professional that is carrying maybe $100,000, $150,000 worth of debt, because now they can consider putting down roots somewhere; family planning."

Comer also suggested some plans for the Police Department similar to what mayoral candidate Paul Vallas has been touting – including bringing back police officers who have left for other departments and bringing back retired officers.

You can watch the interviews with both candidates above.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.