Attempting to turn President Donald Trump’s talk into federal action, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he used his first meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to present a list of ways the federal government can help stop the bloodbath on Chicago streets.
“On the FBI, DEA, ATF, send more agents [who] are permanently placed here in Chicago to cooperate and work with our Chicago Police Department. They do it in a number of areas today. But, we don’t have the full expanse of what we need to do the job and we have a good relationship with those three federal entities,” the mayor said.
“Second is invest in the technology that you saw in Englewood in the 7th District and the 11th District — the strategic predictive analytic rooms — help us take that to other police districts in the city.”
The mayor’s wish list goes beyond policing to expansion of mentoring, summer jobs and after-school programs from which both the state and federal government have been AWOL, as he put it.
“I talked about making sure that our kids have an alternative consistent with what I’ve said about BAM [Becoming A Man] as a mentoring program,” Emanuel said. “There’s an account that deals with ex-offenders. We would like to see that because we have the largest ex-offender program. . . . And help us with summer jobs and after school where the federal government has actually been cutting those resources.”
Emanuel said he also renewed his call for the U.S. Justice Department to step up federal prosecution of gun crimes.
A Chicago Sun-Times story last year found that federal weapons charges in Chicago have fallen slightly over the past five years — despite the local rise in firearm offenses. Federal prosecutors in some other major urban areas — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Detroit and Baltimore — have charged far more people with weapons offenses than the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago has.
Sources said the meeting with Sessions focused exclusively on ways the Justice Department can assist Chicago in stopping the unrelenting gang violence on city streets.
There was no discussion of whether or not the Trump administration intends to pursue a consent decree — culminating in the appointment of a federal monitor—to implement the sweeping police reforms recommended by the U.S. Justice Department in the waning days of the Obama administration. Sessions has long opposed such consent decrees and reiterated that opposition during his confirmation hearing.
Emanuel has signed an agreement in principle to negotiate a consent decree and has promised to implement the federal reforms with or without a consent decree.
“The Justice Department is gonna be here next week meeting with our people consistent with a consent decree and starting those conversations and continuing those conversations. We plan on continuing to build it,” the mayor said.
“The purpose of my meeting [in Washington Monday] was to go out and be very specific that, if you’re talking about federal help, this is what we mean by federal help. From law enforcement cooperation and participation to investing in kids to prosecuting gun crimes to economic development in our neighborhoods.”
As for Trump’s directive to Sessions to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities, Emanuel said that’s a place where he and the attorney general will just have to agree to disagree. “I have been clear in public and private — as recently as just about an hour ago — we are a welcoming city and we’re gonna stay a welcoming city,” he said.