Chicago’s best cop cancels day off for officers and assigns additional resources to areas including downtown and Millennium Park after more than two dozen children and teens were arrested or cited for reckless behavior last weekend.
Police Superintendent David Brown on Friday announced additional public safety measures his department will take to prevent a repeat of the chaos seen downtown last weekend when police arrested teenagers for crimes, including misconduct, reckless driving and bodily harm.
“Everyone is always welcome downtown, everyone is welcome to enjoy all that our city has to offer,” he said. “Chicago belongs to all of us, but if you come downtown or anywhere, if you engage in disorderly driving or other crimes, you will be arrested.”
A group of around 500 children and teens gathered in the city center last Saturday, Brown said, adding that 20 people had been arrested and nine other teens had been cited for violating the weekend curfew. last.
That night, a 15-year-old boy was shot dead and two police officers were reportedly injured as they responded to the crowd.
In canceling the officers’ first day off this weekend, police officials said they would have additional staff to deploy throughout the city, in “violent areas”, retail corridors, the along Michigan Avenue and in and around Millennium Park. Brown did not provide specific numbers, but said there would be a “significant increase” in the number of officers working this weekend both downtown and in other neighborhoods.
CPD chief Brian McDermott said this would ensure sufficient security in the park and an evacuation plan in place in the event of an emergency.
“The main objective of the plan is to protect the First Amendment rights, life and safety of all people in the park,” he said. “We strongly encourage all young people coming to the city center to be supervised by a responsible adult. “
Brown also berated parents who plan to drop their children downtown without additional supervision, saying it was “irresponsible” and a “recipe for the police to be the parent.”
“It is not the role of the police to look after people’s children,” he said.
The cancellation of officers’ days off has been a major point of contention for police unions, including the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, whose members cast a vote of no confidence in Brown, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter earlier this year for similar questions. concerns.
Brown said the department is trying to balance the need for additional resources with the welfare of officers and that DPC leaders “recognize the challenges of this job.”
When asked how long this type of plan would be in place, Brown replied, “As long as it takes. We are committed to keeping Chicago safe.
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