(CBS) — Thanks but no thanks, says Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to suggestions that his department accept help from the Illinois National Guard.
McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel agree they could use some help combating street violence — but with tougher gun laws.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.
The mayor and McCarthy appeared at the police graduation of 125 new officers Monday morning. Emanuel insisted his violence-reduction strategy is working, something he says he saw first-hand during a ride-along in “special impact zones” over the weekend.
“In one of those zones, I think we counted nine police cars in literally about 12 or 15 blocks,” Emanuel said.
Meanwhile, McCarthy responded to suggestions that the National Guard could help. He nixed the idea, saying, “No way, no how.”
“The National Guard is not a policing force. They’re a military force,” he told reporters.
More practical would be toughening up gun laws, the superintendent argued.
“It’s not an issue of resources. It’s the issue of supporting that system. If people don’t go to jail for possession of a firearm, they don’t learn not to carry a firearm,” he said.
Gov. Pat Quinn was asked over the weekend whether there had been discussions with city officials about using the National Guard or state police to help Chicago officers. Quinn said there hadn’t been, but that he’d consider sharing state police resources if city officials wanted them.
He noted state police already help patrol East St. Louis.
Still reeling from last week’s Cornell Square Park assault, Emanuel had spent much of the weekend trying to reassure people, walking the streets, riding with officers, attending events.
The welcome wasn’t always the warmest, even when he was accompanied by Father Michael Pfleger and sat next to basketball legend Isiah Thomas and chatted with Bulls superstar Derek Rose at a “peace tournament” aimed at replacing gang battles with basketball games.
The mayor hasn’t responded to any of CBS 2’s questions since the Thursday night shootings, perhaps seeking to avoid yet another negative headline.
“It doesn’t help the reputation of the city and state, and I think we all know that. That’s why we have to do everything in our power to have it come to an end,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said.
The mayor is obviously losing patience with those talking about bringing in state cops or the National Guard. He says the city’s already making progress.
But the statistics he’s got to prove it are overpowered by the pictures from crime scenes like Cornell Square Park.