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Mayor Lightfoot, Supt. Brown Again Complain About Violent Criminals On Electronic Monitoring, Say 200 More CPD Detectives Will Come On This Year

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Police this year will be adding 200 more detectives while focusing on fighting gangs and illegal gun trafficking, while also focusing on the root causes of crime, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police Supt. David Brown said Tuesday.

Brown said in 2022, 200 new detectives will be brought on in an effort to improve the clearance rate for crimes. A total of 100 new detectives are already under training, while plans are under way to promote another 100 officers to detective for a total of 1,300 detectives, Brown said.

Brown added that additional POD cameras and license plate reader technology be mounted on city streets – with a comprehensive plan to monitor expressway exits and exits, as well as all neighborhoods, including retail corridors.

The CPD is also expanding neighborhood policing, and Brown stated a goal of 1.5 million positive interactions with the public. He said the goal is "building trust, getting out of the squad car, getting out from behind the desk."

Recruitment efforts also play a role in the CPD's 2022 plan, Brown said. The department received 7,200 applications from people hoping to become police officers in 2021, and hopes to double the number of applications this year.

Meanwhile, without naming any names, Brown and Lightfoot also took aim at Cook County officials – claiming as they have many times before that violent criminals being let out on electronic monitoring has made the city more dangerous.

Mayor Lightfoot said a total of 2,300 "violent, dangerous people" were let out on the streets on bond last year. These people are charged with crimes such as attempted, murder, kidnapping, carjacking, and sexual assault, the mayor said.

Chicago Police last year arrested 133 people – many of them wearing ankle bracelets – who committed another violent crime while out on electronic monitoring with no community supervision, Lightfoot said.

The result, Mayor Lightfoot said, is that violent criminals do not believe there are any consequences for their actions, the mayor said.

Mayor Lightfoot called on the public to tell Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Cook County Board commissioners that "enough is enough."

"We are sending a message to them that they are free to go about their business" and commit violent crimes "again and again and again."

The mayor said there are 90 people charged with murder who are out of custody on electronic monitoring now.

Mayor Lightfoot said she supports bail reform – on the grounds that the Cook County Jail should not be a debtors' prison, and people should not held in jail just because they can't afford bail. But that does not mean dangerous, violent criminals should be allowed to walk free while waiting trial, Lightfoot said.

"It is mind-blowing when you think about what has happened under the moniker of criminal justice reform," Mayor Lightfoot said, "That is not criminal justice reform. What that is, is making our streets more dangerous."

The superintendent also had a message for those who have committed shootings, carjackings, smash-and-grab retail thefts, and other crimes.

"You think you're just going to get away with that? We're coming after you. We're going to hold you accountable, and we want to keep you in jail." Brown said.

Mayor Lightfoot said in 2021, too many Chicago residents felt like they could become crime victims.

"We cannot live in a world where residents of neighborhoods feel like the gangs and the violent, dangerous people have control; where they fear – those residents fear the gangs, and that they think we have lost control," Mayor Lightfoot said. "And unfortunately, that is sadly true in too many neighborhoods."

The mayor called for a stronger effort to "take the heart out of illegal gun trafficking" and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people "who don't care about who they kill, harm, or maim."

Mayor Lightfoot noted that 76 Chicago Police officers were shot or shot at in 2021. Officer Ella French was shot and killed.

The mayor said dedicated gun teams will work to seize illegal guns and find and cut off sources and supplies – as they are already doing now. She said the CPD will lean into partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with other federal agencies and state, county, and local law enforcement.

Mayor Lightfoot also said a focus this year will be a crackdown on predatory gangs.

"In too many neighborhoods, gangs are targeting young boys – young boys with promise, young boys with a whole history and opportunity in front of them," Mayor Lightfoot said. "But they're targeting them with false promises of wealth, an easy life, and a sense of purpose and belonging."

Mayor Lightfoot called on the City Council to debate and pass and the Victims' Justice Ordinance, which would seize cash and assets from gang members. She also said police will expand the number of officers involved in fighting gangs.

But while going after guns and gangs is necessary as a short game, a long game of focusing on the root causes of crime in Chicago is also necessary, Mayor Lightfoot said. She noted that spikes and troughs in violent crime in Chicago have been the norm in Chicago since the 1970s, and changing that trend will take more than just massive law enforcement resources.

Lightfoot noted that she has pushed the City Council to pass a 2022 budget with $1.2 billion in investments – the vast majority of which will go toward things like affordable housing, mental health care, and support for young people and families.

She said city government cannot undertake these efforts alone – calling on faith leaders, community organizations, the philanthropic community, and businesses to take part.

The mayor called for building "a bridge to a peaceful Chicago that has eluded us for the past 50-plus years."

Lightfoot emphasized that gangs and guns are a common enemy for all Chicagoans, "but another common enemy that we cannot forget is poverty."

Increased officer wellness efforts, and other means of building community trust, will also be on the agenda this year.

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