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CPD to team up with Cook County Sheriff to go after gangs

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Chicago Tribune
by Jeremy Gorner

With the city off to a violent start in the first days of 2016, Chicago police and the Cook County Sheriff's Office announced plans Wednesday to team up on the West Side to combat gangs and remove illegal guns from the street.

The partnership isn't new, but typically in the past the sheriff's office has helped during summer when violence peaks. In summer 2014, for instance, the sheriff's office dispatched more than 100 officers from its central warrants and electronic monitoring units to some of Chicago's most violent areas, focusing on capturing fugitives and recovering illegal guns.

Officials said the partnership will be more coordinated than before, targeting gangs in the Harrison and Austin police districts, among the most violent in the city. But they released few specifics.

Interim police Superintendent John Escalante and Sheriff Tom Dart will help coordinate the effort, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

A statement issued by the Police Department said the partnership would continue just through the end of January, but Guglielmi said the two would work together in February as well, but the focus may shift to other police districts.

"Some of this had been done, (but) this will be on a much higher level," Dart said at a news conference at Chicago police headquarters. "This is not ... just a Chicago problem. It's a county problem. It's a state problem."

Through Tuesday, 190 people were shot across the city, more than double the 78 a year earlier, according to a Tribune analysis. Homicides have risen to 29, compared with 16 a year earlier, the analysis found.

Both shootings and homicides also were up sharply for 2015.

Neither Dart nor Escalante would say how many sheriff's officers would be assisting Chicago cops.

Escalante disagreed that the partnership was an acknowledgment that the Police Department needs more officers.

"The sheriff's office has certain responsibilities that we don't," he said. "They do the electronic monitoring checks for people that are on home monitoring. They do the evictions. They have arrest warrants that they're looking to serve, so there are things that they're doing in the city that we have really no role or responsibility in.

"But we know they're in the city. We know they're going to be in certain areas that we're going to be in," Escalante said. "So that's what we're talking about, just coordinating resources a little better."



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