Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is implementing a 10-day “preparedness plan” that will start this Halloween weekend, as the city braces for potential civil unrest heading into Tuesday’s election.
There will be heightened police patrols starting Friday. Days off will be canceled for police officers, starting on Halloween. Police Supt. David Brown added the beefed up patrols are precautionary, as there “are no incidents on the horizon based on [CPD’s] latest intelligence.”
Additionally, the city’s Office of Emergency Management (OEMC) will activate its Emergency Operation Center where public safety officials will be monitoring social media accounts and coordinating deployment of police officers where needed.
At a press conference Friday, Lightfoot said the city has been planning for potential unrest since this summer, when Chicago endured two rounds of looting following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Taking lessons learned from the summer, which at times have been humbling but also instructive, we have been focused on two issues when it comes to Election Day,” the mayor said, adding those were election integrity and public safety.
City Hall also announced a new “asset protection plan,” a strategy the Police Department devised after the looting over the summer. It includes heightened police presence along commercial corridors across the city and deploying between 60 to 300 city salt trucks and snow plows to block off streets.
City public safety officials have been coordinating these efforts with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Early voting in the city has already broken records, but voters should still feel safe to cast their vote on Election Day, the mayor said.
OEMC has been holding several preparedness workshops over the past several weeks to address potential unrest prompted by the uncertainty of the presidential election in the days following Election Day.
Claudia Morell covers city of Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her @claudiamorell.