FBI's Michael J. Anderson shares plans to solve city's violence

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Michael J. Anderson wants it known his staff is on the front lines of solving Chicago's violent crime (WLS)

A year into his job leading the FBI in Chicago, Michael J. Anderson remains a bit of a mystery to Chicagoans.

The former head of the New Orleans office, who climbed through the ranks with a string of victories in organized crime and political corruption cases, wants it known his staff is on the front lines of solving Chicago's violent crime. This comes after the deadliest month in the city in two decades

"If you know of a shooter or a shot caller you can call the FBI," Anderson said.

Anderson said all law enforcement agencies have to work harder to stop the violence plaguing Chicago. Fifteen years after the Sept.11 attacks and the focus on homeland security that it brought, the new special agent in charge said it is time for more agents to build connections on the street

"We are able to develop rapport, develop relationships, when we are talking to someone for the first time it is not in a crisis," he said.

Chicago's violence, Anderson said, stems from decentralized gangs. There is no structure to their leadership.

"The same challenge we have with neighborhood based gangs is the same challenge we have with ISIS," he said. "ISIS has an organizational element but it is overseas; what we are dealing with here in the United States is very similar,- unaffiliated violence, inspired by, not coordinated, not funded by any sort of leadership."

Traditionally, the federal force has been adept and breaking down criminal enterprises. By getting back on to the street, and integrating more formally with what the CPD has to deal with on a daily basis, Anderson thinks the FBI can change the street dynamic.

"They don't want to have too much structure because they do not want to be on the radar of the FBI, ATF or the CPD.

As summer gives way to fall, Anderson said guns, control over market share of opioids such as fentanyl and dealing with how social media can inflame gang tensions all need to be better understood by his force. And by building relationships, he thinks he can build a better FBI.

"We are looking for people to work for the FBI and we have a huge diversity challenge in this organization," he said.

Anderson said the focus on local crime isn't just his idea, it comes straight from the top. And he wants it known that the agency's renewed approach on the street is designed to work with local law enforcement.
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