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For one mayoral candidate, a focus on policing programs over manpower

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One candidate for Chicago mayor is unveiling her public safety plan, and it does not call for beefing up the number of cops patrolling the streets.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins says the city should pay for more violence prevention programs.

She says the Chicago Police should fill vacancies and put more cops into community policing. But Watkins says, unlike her opponents, she knows simply putting more cops on patrol won’t solve the city’s violence problem.

“We know cops are extremely important- more police are extremely important,” she said at a press conference Thursday. “But it’s wrong for us to just put police officers in the line of fire, and the rest of us just go home. I think that, in order to solve the challenges that we face as a city now, we can not look to the old bag of tricks that have been used in the past.”

Watkins says the city should also beef up programs to help ex-cons find jobs when they get out of jail.

She says she’d pay for the plan with a special kind of city bond that pays off investors once the crime rate goes down.

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