As part of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s all-hands-on-deck public safety strategy, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), the Chicago Police Department and other City departments and agencies today joined together to emphasize that safety is a priority when celebrating Memorial Day weekend. In preparation for the holiday weekend and summer ahead, the City announced new public safety efforts to enhance coordination with key departments in a comprehensive approach to reduce violence and bolster City services across Chicago’s neighborhoods.
“Even as we face an unprecedented public health crisis, our first responders, City workers and street outreach partners from across Chicago are coming together in an all-hands-on-deck effort to keep residents safe this weekend and throughout the summer,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “While I encourage all residents to celebrate the holiday, it remains imperative that we do so by staying inside and social distancing so we can continue to save lives and keep our fellow neighbors safe and healthy.”
Building off the City’s best practices when it comes to coordinating large scale events and emergencies, the City is launching a first-of-its-kind Summer Operations Center (SOC) within the Emergency Operations Center at OEMC. Starting today and throughout every weekend this summer, the SOC will be staffed by representatives from City departments like the Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools, Streets and Sanitation, and more, in a comprehensive approach aimed at reaching the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable neighborhoods. Through the new Center, departments and agencies will be able to monitor citywide activity and deploy resources and services more quickly and efficiently to communities.
“With the City’s new Summer Operations Center, all departments and agencies will be working together to ensure timely communication, coordination and response for the day-to-day activities of this weekend and any emergency incidents this summer,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “While we make every effort on behalf of the city to make it a memorable holiday weekend, we want everyone to know they have a role to play in keeping Chicago safe.”
To supplement on-the-ground public safety resources, the Police Department will increase its patrol beyond its regular deployments starting today and individuals can expect to see a heavier presence of uniformed officers in and around major transit hubs and thoroughfares. While the Department is focused on crimefighting prevention efforts, officers will continue to enforce the Stay at Home order by dispersing any large gatherings and issuing citations where necessary.
“With our all-hands-on-deck effort, we are maximizing CPD’s police resources with one goal in mind—to save lives,” said Superintendent David O. Brown. “Throughout the summer, officers will continue to be present in all areas of the city and equipped with the tools necessary to address the unique needs of the communities they serve.
As part of CPD’s comprehensive public safety strategy, the Department’s Office of Community Policing has partnered with the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Water Management (DWM) to launch Operation Clean missions every weekend. The Operation Clean missions deliver resources directly to Chicago’s neighborhoods with the goal of improving the quality of life for residents by fixing broken streetlights and potholes, repairing damaged buildings, removing unwanted graffiti and cleaning empty lots.
“Through our Operation Clean missions, departments like Streets and Sanitation, Water and Transportation are out in full force filling potholes, trimming trees and making important community investments to provide the best quality of life for residents of Chicago,” said Departments of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully.
To support the City’s services efforts, the Mayor’s Office of Violence Reduction has launched the first-ever Violence Reduction Dashboard, which is designed to enable City departments and street outreach organizations to use crime data to not only centralize strategic police missions and street outreach deployments but also inform various department operations and resources. By providing each department with real-time data in neighborhoods across Chicago, the City can further ensure cross-department collaboration when it comes to reducing violence through societal investments.
“I applaud the City for not only treating violence as a public safety issue, but also the public health crisis that it is,” said Chris Patterson of Institute for Nonviolence Chicago. “By partnering with the street outreach organizations that work on-the-ground each and every day in these neighborhoods, we can further foster positive relationships with local residents and ensure they have resources and supports they need to stay safe.”
Local police districts continue to partner with the violence interrupters, block clubs and street outreach organizations on the ground to curb gun violence in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office has partnered with street outreach to further ensure communities have the latest public health resources, supports and guidance needed to stay protected from Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19). To build on these efforts for the summer, Mayor Lightfoot announced last month a total of $7.5 million in investments into community-based organizations from across Chicago to expand street outreach and trauma-informed victim services.
While the lakefront and its adjacent parks will remain closed through Memorial Day weekend, CPD’s Bike Unit and Marine Unit will patrol the area to ensure residents are complying with the closure and Stay at Home order. Additionally, the Chicago Fire Department’s Air-Sea rescue unit will be fully staffed with boats in the water and our dive unit and helicopter ready to respond to any waterway emergency. The Chicago Park District has installed barricades and fencing in some areas to remind residents of the restrictions.
Throughout the weekend, Chicago parks will remain open to provide brief respite during the Stay at Home order. The Park District will continue to encourage all residents to ensure they are safely social distancing and wearing cloth masks to further stop the spread of COVID-19. For the latest information and public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit Chicago.gov/COVID.