CHICAGO (CBS) — There are new details on the size and the cost of special forces detailed to safe passage routes to protect Chicago Public School students on their way to and from school.
It’s a combination of paid staff, detailed city workers and volunteers and they’re lining both the routes students, and in some cases their parents, are taking to welcoming schools as well as other potential trouble spots.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine took a look at what is being done and found that the Mayor is sparing neither effort, nor expense to make sure these children are safe.
“All of us are accountable, responsible for our children so they can live up to their full potential. That will be the task, that is the goal and the city is up to it,” said Emanuel.
And we could see what he meant as we watched students coming and going the first two days of school under the watchful eyes of what you might call City Hall Special Forces, which include 1200 CPS Safe Passage Workers, 3000 CAPS volunteers and 200 paid City workers have either volunteered or been ordered to take time from their regular jobs, as well as special Chicago Police details.
Some of those officers are coming right from the police academy which produced 123 new officers, sworn in this morning. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has been all over the city checking up on his officers.
“But the thing that I’m seeing more than anything else, that’s really, really pleasing to me, is families getting out and walking their kids to school and folks sitting on their porches ensuring that those kids have safe passage,” said McCarthy.
Of course, it’s only day two and some are asking about the work piling up for city workers, how long volunteers will be able to maintain their enthusiasm, and the bills piling up for those being paid.
When asked if the effort can be sustained, Mayor Emanuel said, “Yes, and we will.”
Emanuel added, “The streets our children take to school, are the streets of our children and our families and they do not belong to the gang bangers.”
That is a familiar refrain for the Mayor. He repeatedly said the same thing when he was running for Mayor three years ago. But this is no longer campaign rhetoric as he’s asking thousands of students to walk through unfamiliar, sometimes unfriendly territory with potential consequences, far more serious than broken campaign promises.