Weeks after looting gripped the downtown area and outlying neighborhoods, dozens of Chicago police officers on Thursday took part in separate drills designed to strengthen the CPD’s response to large-scale theft and vandalism.
The drills, which were held in the CPD’s Wentworth and Grand Central districts on the South and Northwest sides, were a means for the department “to see how quickly and how effective our response is,” CPD Supt. David Brown told reporters.
“These drills will serve as a blueprint for other neighborhoods. We are laying out plans to prevent looting, vandalism and violence in our neighborhood commercial corridors,” Brown said. “We are going to continue to devote resources necessary to keep our neighborhoods safe, should looters return.”
Chicago has seen two distinct rounds of looting in recent months. The first occurred in late May as Chicago and other cities across the country saw large demonstrations against police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.
As CPD officers tried to tamp down the widespread theft and vandalism, the city saw 18 murders on May 31, making it the single deadliest day in Chicago’s modern history.
The second round of looting happened in mid-August. CPD officials have said misinformation and rumor-mongering about a police shooting in Englewood were the catalyst.
Since then, scores of police officers have seen their days off canceled and their shifts extended to 12 hours. The CPD also established a Looting Task Force to find and charge the hundreds of people who took the city’s toniest shopping areas by storm.
Brown said Thursday the department is “sensitive to the fact that our officers are people with families and other personal commitments.”
“As much as we can, we will try to deal with officer wellness, along with giving whatever relief we can to our officers,” Brown said.