Seizing on the controversy enveloping Mayor Richard Daley over Chicago gun violence and city policing, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he’s holding discussions with his State Police and Illinois National Guard officials about any crime-fighting role they can play, the Chicago Tribune reports. “I think today it’s fair to say that violent crime in Chicago is out of control,” Blagojevich said. “That in certain communities in the city of Chicago, it’s reaching epidemic proportions.”
The governor said one idea is to bring state troopers into the city to monitor hot spots. He has not talked to Daley, however. How the State Police would play a significant role is questionable because Blagojevich has only recently begun rebuilding its ranks after union officials say the agency lost more than 10 percent of its positions from 2001 through 2005 and patrolling of many areas, particularly during nights and weekends, is spotty at best. The governor’s offer could be more politically embarrassing than helpful for Daley, who has been conscious of the city’s image as he tries to win the 2016 Olympic Games.