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CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today attended a graduation ceremony for 46 police recruits, the first class to graduate from the Police Academy since Mayor Emanuel took office. These officers were part of the class that started in October, following an announcement that CTA was funding additional officers to patrol rail and bus stations across the City. The Mayor thanked the new officers for their commitment to public service and honored the hard work of all Chicago Police Officers
“Having just taken the oath that so many of your brothers and sisters before you have taken, you have joined the greatest police force in the greatest city in America,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The beat officer is the backbone of the police force. As Mayor, my number one priority for safety is putting more police on the beat, and keeping kids, guns and drugs off the street.”
At the graduation, the Mayor outlined two new initiatives designed to address the problem of gangs and drugs in Chicago’s communities. First, the Mayor is supporting a resolution in the Illinois General Assembly calling for the creation of RICO laws that will give local law enforcement the power to prosecute gang leaders for crimes they order others to commit, closing the loopholes that have allowed many of the most violent gang leaders to escape punishment for their crimes.
The City is also revamping its enforcement processes for establishments with business licenses to more effectively target liquor and convenience stores that serve as conduits for criminal activity.
“These locations often harbor drug dealers and street gang members and become a cancer on the community,” Emanuel said. “By taking aggressive enforcement action, we can send a clear message that the streets of the Chicago belong to the children and the law-abiding residents of Chicago, not to drug dealers and gang bangers.”
For the first time, the City will pull data from multiple enforcement departments, including Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Chicago Police Department (CPD), Streets & Sanitation (DSS), Public Health (CDPH), 311 and Buildings, to spot trends in complaints about liquor and convenience stores– moving from a reactive approach after a major incident, to a proactive approach.
Until now, BACP, which oversees these businesses, has relied primarily on BACP complaints to determine whether to discipline a business or initiate a revocation action. Under the new process, BACP will have access to enforcement information from other City agencies. When BACP sees that an establishment has a string of problems with other City agencies, BACP will move to revoke the liquor license and any other City business licenses.
The City will also be working in Springfield to strengthen legislation so that the City’s authority in this area is strong.
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