Rahm Runs With CPD Recruits, Calls On City To ‘Strap On Your Shoes’ To Fight Crime

CHICAGO (CBS) — Hours after outlining his blueprint for reducing gun violence in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel went for a pre-dawn run with a group of police recruits, and reiterated his plan to get more cops on the streets, and provide mentors to youths in high-crime communities.

The mayor joined about two dozen police recruits on a training run on the Near West Side. He has run with police recruits before, but this run came less than 12 hours after the mayor delivered a major policy speech on public safety in Chicago.

Speaking to an invitation-only crowd at Malcolm X College on Thursday, the mayor discussed his plans to hire nearly 1,000 additional officers over the department’s current strength over the next two years, provide more jobs in impoverished communities, and provide mentors for at-risk kids.

Before his Friday morning run, the mayor said the recruits are a big part of his plan, as are community organizations he will rely on to mentor young men in the city’s 20 most violent neighborhoods.

“Everybody has a role to play, I have a role to play, the city government has a role to play, our companies have a role to play, but you as citizens have a role to play,” he said. “So if I could say to the city of Chicago as I’m about to go to run, everybody strap on your shoes, because this is the future of the city of Chicago, and this is your fight too.”

A big question in regards to the mayor’s mentoring proposal, is will it work?

Adrian Segura, a regular at Café Jumping Bean in Pilsen, reflected on the mayor’s policy speech, in particular his proposal for a three-year $36 million initiative to provide mentors to young men in the city’s 20 most violent neighborhoods.

“We have kids growing up without positive role models in their lives, and the danger we face today is that the gangs in the city of Chicago are willing to be that role model, they’re willing willing to be mentor,” the mayor said in his speech.

Segura, who grew up on the border between two gangs, said he knows the power mentoring programs can have.

“Temptation was very real as a young Latino male growing up in Chicago,” he said.

Segura grew up on the West Side, but found a mentor through Americorps. Now, as an educator, he mentors 20 inner city boys.

“I’ve been working with youth for over eight years now; and if they’re in school, if they have proper guidance, if they have people that are investing in them and believe in them, I think the mayor said it best: you give them that self-confidence,” Segura said.

Many community activists have expressed skepticism about the mayor’s overall plan, particularly how the city will find the money for so many new police officers.

“How do we pay for all of this when we’re already in such tremendous financial trouble?” said Rev. Gregory Livingston, president and founder of the Coalition for a New Chicago.

Emanuel has not yet said how the city will pay for his plan to hire new police officers, or for his mentoring initiative.

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