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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today held a public safety cabinet meeting to discuss and coordinate plans across city agencies and among community leaders ahead of the Fourth of July weekend which, in addition to barbeques and celebrations, can bring drinking, illegal fireworks and, historically, a higher level of violence. Following the meeting, the Police Department announced officers will work 12-hour shifts, which puts more police on the streets. Additionally, the Police Department has been reaching out to community leaders to enlist their support through community engagement and sharing safety information.
The Mayor was joined at the meeting by Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications Director Gary Schenkel, Chicago Housing Authority Acting CEO Eugene Jones, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Evelyn Diaz, and Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval Carter.
“The 4th of July weekend has been a challenge historically, and we are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach between city government and community leaders to ensure every resident in every community can celebrate in safety this weekend,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As we ask everyone to celebrate responsibly, I also want to thank all the police officers, fire fighters, parks and public safety workers who will be away from their families this holiday weekend to help keep our city safe.”
The Police Department will use every available resource to ensure the public’s safety throughout the holiday weekend. By moving to 12-hour shifts over the weekend, there will be more officers on the street and in high crime areas to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday. The Crime Prevention and Information Center at Police Headquarters and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications will be fully staffed to support police operations and monitor the POD camera program. Unpermitted events in city parks will not be tolerated, and police will be working closely with the Park District to shut down any events without the necessary permits.
“The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate and enjoy a summer day family and friends, but we also know that in the past it has been a challenging time for safety in our communities,” said Superintendent McCarthy. “We will have more officers on the street this weekend, and we will be partnering with community leaders in neighborhoods throughout Chicago to keep our streets safe. To those who behave irresponsibly and even recklessly, whether that’s drinking and driving or being involved in gun violence, we will respond aggressively to hold you accountable.”
CPD is also partnering with community leaders throughout the city ahead of the holiday weekend. Leaders throughout the Department – from District Commanders to the Superintendent – have been working with ministers, community organizers, and members of the District Advisory Committees, asking them to share important safety reminders ahead of the holiday weekend and to alert police about any suspicious activity.
“We all have the same goal, to keep our communities safe, and I’m glad the police reached out to enlist our support because we get the best results when we work together,” said Rev. Duane Grant from Greater Englewood United Methodist Church and Teamwork Englewood. “In the days ahead, we will be tapping our phone trees, sending emails and sharing important safety information with people in our organization and young people in our community.”
The Fire Department also warned against participating in, encouraging or viewing illegal, unsanctioned fireworks displays. Such events pose serious danger to the physical health and safety those nearby, and are also a major fire hazard. Each year the Chicago Fire Department responds to calls for injuries caused by fireworks from burns to explosive injuries, which can cause severe damage to fingers hands and arms. Even sparklers can cause serious burns as they develop temperatures well over one thousand degrees.
“We ask that you leave the fireworks to licensed professionals,” said Commissioner Santiago. “There is a great show at Navy Pier, among others, and we encourage you to keep your family members safe by going to an event put on by professionals in a safe environment. Our goal is zero injuries this Fourth of July weekend so please do your part to make that a reality.”
The City reminds residents that there are family friendly alternatives, including the Fourth of July fireworks at Navy Pier on Saturday night.