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Mayor Lightfoot Calls For Help From Federal Agents In Fighting Violence In Chicago, Takes Aim At Cook County Electronic Monitoring Program

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot took no questions from the news media after a lengthy speech about her plans to tackle gun violence in the city.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, Lightfoot is calling for help from the U.S. Attorney General. She also took a shot at the electronic monitoring program in Cook County.

Mayor Lightfoot said she is calling for a moratorium on the use of electronic monitoring, or EM, for offenders charged with serious violent crimes. She said it is one of many drivers perpetuating violence in the city.

The mayor acknowledged that 2021 will end with shootings and homicides significantly higher than the year before, and vowed to aim for a 60 percent homicide clearance rate in 2022.

"Our homicide clearance rate is currently at 48 percent, which is up from the embarrassingly low 28 percent in 2016. This is improved, but not nearly good enough," Mayor Lightfoot said. "We need to hit 60 percent or higher in 2022. We can't do it without partnership with the community."

This is why Mayor Lightfoot said she is asking for help from Attorney General Merrick Garland, to:

1) Send agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to Chicago for six months to increase the number of gun investigations and gun seizures in Chicago.

2) Lend Chicago federal prosecutors to handle the new cases that will be generated.

3) Send additional federal marshals to help execute warrants for violating conditions of release or other court orders.

Mayor Lightfoot's plan is very close to President Joe Biden's playbook announced more than five months ago — which included supporting local law enforcement with federal tools.

"While there's no one size fits all approach, we know there are some things that work," President Biden said in July. "The first of those that works is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violence crimes."

Mayor Lightfoot on Monday also poked serious holes in cook county's electronic monitoring program.

Before the pandemic, approximately 1,200 offenders were out on EM. Now, it is close to 3,400, and Lightfoot said that well over 50 people have been arrested for shooting and murder while out on EM.

"The Cook County electronic monitoring program is fundamentally broken in a way that makes us fundamentally unsafe," the mayor said.

Lightfoot also proposed new ordinance targeting gang members for fines and forfeiture in civil court.

With regard to electronic monitoring for serious violent offenders, the Chief Judge's office released the following statement:

"We have been informed that the mayor made a statement regarding electronic monitoring, however, we have not yet received her request. We share the concerns about the tragic violence in our community. This is both a local and a national problem. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in finding solutions to this complex issue."

The mayor's announcement also came on the same day that The Department of Justice announced it will be awarding $1.6 billion in grants nationwide to support a range of initiatives to reduce violent crime.

We reached out to the Mayor's office to see if and how Chicago might be benefitting from the DOJ award - still waiting on a response.

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