CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police have created a new patrol unit to help increase public safety in parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced plans for a new “Summer Mobile Patrol” unit, which will allow police higher visibility and quicker access using Segways, horses, and all-terrain vehicles to monitor large crowds.
“This special unit will have the ability to move their deployments based upon emerging conditions, crime trends or special events,” Johnson said.
Johnson says the initiative announced today differs from those in the past.
About 100 officers will not only patrol the lakefront on bikes and police all purpose vehicles, but also patrol parks and neighborhoods, too.
The new patrol unit will operate during peak activity times. Police said the department also has deployed teams of officers on foot and on bikes in the neighborhoods and at parks to “promote positive community engagement.”
Chicagoans welcome the extra police presence.
“It’s a great idea, but it should maybe be more focused on what’s going on in neighborhoods in the south,” said Ana Gomez. “If you go to Ashland and 47th and to see those walking officers around that area, not just in the beach, downtown or the North Side.”
The move comes after at least two large brawls in the past two weeks at North Avenue Beach – one on Memorial Day, and another on Friday afternoon. After the latest brawl, police said they would increase patrols at parks and beaches this summer.