Mayor Daley blasts gov. for cutting law enforcement budget

August 1, 2008 9:19:24 PM PDT
Mayor Daley is questioning the governor's offer to help fight Chicago crime by using Illinois State Police officers, especially during a budget crisis.

The shootings just outside the Taste of Chicago on July 3 were unprecedented, a sign of the violent crime gripping the city. It prompted Governor Blagojevich to offer state police to help Chicago police try to reduce the violence.

"Violent crime in Chicago is out of control," Blagojevich said in a press conference after the incident.

Mayor Daley Friday was touting the success of his gun buyback program. He questions the offer of help from the state, especially when the governor is slashing the budget, including the state police.

"It's a budget crisis. But don't make a statement and have a press conference and then try to call everybody and say oh, we want to work with you. The state police have no money. They're being cut," Daley said.

A spokesperson for the governor said the state police budget is being cut. But there is still money. "How can we afford not to get involved in this? There's enough wiggle room to find ways, creative ways to help out the city in this time of need," said Lucio Guerrero, governor's spokesman.

The mayor and governor have yet to talk in person about Blagojevich's offer. But top officials with the Chicago and state police have already had several discussions and plan to announce police assistance in several areas next week. Including state police officers joining the CAGE unit or Chicago Anti-Gun Enforcement. State patrol units will also increase coverage in high crime areas along major expressways. And they plan to announce other partnerships as well next week. For residents who live in high crime areas it is welcome news.

"Whatever they got to do, because it's out of hand. It's crazy," said Marilyn Little, a West Side resident.

The mayor says he and the governor are getting along just fine. And the governor says there's nothing personal or political about his offer to use state police to help fight city crime. The bottom line is both leaders say they have the same goal, to stop the violence.


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