There are many ideas swirling from aldermen, religious leaders and community groups about how to address gang violence. The Chicago Crime Commission joined the conversation Tuesday with their own recommendations, which quickly garnered the support of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The commission's plan is twofold: First, they want the city to hire 1400 more police officers immediately. According to members, their calculations came from comparing the number of sworn officers working in patrol operations with the number of established beats and norms for police patrol manpower across the country.
Second, they said the US District Attorney and the Cook County State’s Attorney should help train Chicago police to prosecute armed gang members under federal laws.
Commission board member Peter Bensinger says they want gang members locked up in federal prisons.
"It’s a different story. It’s different time, harder time, further away from their cohorts and their gangs," Bensinger said.
As for how to fund this plan, Bensinger and other members say that's not their job.
"The Crime Commission here is not going to respond to 'how do you address the payroll or the budget problems for these additional policemen'. That's up to the mayor, the city council and our greater community. And we wouldn't be doing our job if we had to comment on how many police officers can you afford," Bensiger said.
Pat Camden, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, said he thinks Chicagoans would be willing to foot the bill for the commission's plan.
"It becomes an issue that ‘we’re not going to raise property taxes, we’re not going to do this.’ By not raising property taxes, put us in this situation to begin with," Camden said.
Camden said he supports the Crime Commission’s recommendation wholeheartedly.