(CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn says he would consider using state resources to help combat Chicago street violence, but only if city officials want the assistance.
Speaking on this week’s mass shooting in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, Quinn was asked whether there have been discussions about sending in the state police or Illinois National Guard to assist Chicago police.
The governor said he’s had no specific conversations but noted state police are helping patrol in East St. Louis, another city that has its challenges with violent crime.
“It has to be done in a coordinated fashion with the local law enforcement, with their full cooperation,” Quinn told reporters Saturday.
Quinn did not specifically veto the idea of deploying Guard members in Chicago. A press aide later told CBS 2 the governor was speaking only about the possibility of using state police to help out.
Discussions about using state manpower to fight Chicago crime isn’t unprecedented. In 2008, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich suggested using the state police and National Guard to help Chicago police with “out of control” violence. The comment was widely interpreted as an insult to then-Mayor Richard Daley, with whom Blagojevich was feuding.
Quinn says he remains committed to doing something about assault rifles – one is suspected of being used in Thursday’s shooting at Cornell Square Park – and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“I think anyone who saw what happened in Cornell Park the other night was horrified by the violence. I live on the West Side of Chicago. It is an area that has been inflicted with violence, and we’ve got to protect the people,” Quinn said.
The governor spoke in the Little Village neighborhood Saturday morning at the reopening of a credit union.
Emanuel, appearing at St. Sabina’s later in the day, did not take reporters’ questions and walked off after making a statement about the event there, a basketball “Peace Tournament” featuring NBA stars.