Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has frequently blamed crime spikes in the city on the pandemic, lax prosecutors and illegal guns. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, she said she had “total confidence” in police superintendent David Brown’s ability to reduce the violence. Lightfoot told the Tribune that she’s committed to supporting cops and reforming the department, a difficult position that has been subject to criticism across the political spectrum. In the interview, Lightfoot drew on personal experience to explain her position. “I’m a former federal prosecutor. I believe very strongly in law enforcement. And law enforcement includes police,” Lightfoot said. “But I’m a Black woman who’s lived in the city for over 30 years. I’m very cognizant of the history of law enforcement, local law enforcement, and particularly, local law enforcement in Chicago.” The Chicago Police Department is currently facing a staffing shortage, with the number of city police down to 12,140 officers compared to 13,181 officers two years ago. Lightfoot said many of these officers are disillusioned by the perceived lack of support from city officials. She hopes Brown can mend that relationship.
In the interview, she praised two accomplishments under his leadership: a rising clearance rate for homicides and a requirement implemented by Brown last summer that officers in the street do some form of community service project each week. But criticism of Lightfoot’s policies is widespread, from “conservative pro-police aldermen to members of the Democratic Socialist caucus,” the Tribune writes. Ald. Gilbert Villegas, who previously served as Lightfoot’s floor leader, said Lightfoot’s policies haven’t made people in his community feel any safer.