Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday after more than 70 people were shot and 12 killed last weekend in Chicago, taking credit for directing the Illinois State Police to assist the Chicago Police Department.
Rauner was rumored to have considered sending in the National Guard, but told reporters at a Peoria event Wednesday that there was “no truth” to that report.
But when asked again Thursday what he planned to do to respond to a spike in violence in Chicago, Rauner blamed Emanuel for not properly resourcing and staffing the Chicago Police Department and for failing to improve the economies of Chicago’s South and West sides, where most of the violence took place.
Rauner said the “primary responsibility” to stem violence in the city lies with leaders in Chicago, but said his administration has been “proactive” by sending the Illinois State Police into the city.
“We weren’t asked to — in fact, there was resistance — but I said, ‘You know what? We’re going to have State Police go into the neighborhoods in Chicago,’” Rauner said Thursday. “That’s not their primary jurisdiction, but we pushed it, CPD accepted it and we now have State Police and have confiscated a lot of illegal guns, we’ve arrested a lot of gang members and the State Police are making a difference.”
The governor pointed to the State Police’s presence on expressways in the city — which is within the normal jurisdiction of the agency — as shootings on the highways increased dramatically in recent years.
State Police spokesman Lt. Matt Boerwinkle told The Daily Line on Thursday officials believe extra patrols by state police officers helped to reduce the number of shootings on expressways significantly, as compared with last year.
“[The State Police is] actively involved in enforcement efforts, particularly targeting gun violence on Chicago expressways, particularly 290 and 94,” Boerwinkle said. “This year we’re starting to see a real impact.”
Number of shootings on Chicago-area expressways by year:
2013 — 13
2014 — 19
2015 — 37
2016 — 53
2017 — 51
2018 — 24
* Source: Illinois State Police
Since 2016, the Illinois State Police has been operating three distinct patrol units within the Chicago area, which Boerwinkle said has resulted in 201 gun arrests and the seizure of 2,013 illegal guns.
The program Rauner explicitly took credit for on Thursday is called the Illinois State Police Gang Violence Prevention Task Force, a small unit of 24 to 25 officers that specifically patrols neighborhoods where gang violence is prevalent.
Between the expressway patrol, the gang violence task force and another Illinois State Police initiative within the city, Boerwinkle said the agency is responsible for 233 criminal charges in 2018 alone.
Arrests and gun seizures attributable to ISP
2016 — 73 gun arrests and 76 illegal guns seized
2017 — 74 gun arrests and 92 illegal guns seized
2018 — 54 gun arrests and 45 illegal guns seized
* Source: Illinois State Police
Despite touting the ISP’s efforts, Rauner maintained that Democrats in both city and state government should share the blame for gun violence, as he claimed they were responsible for blocking pro-business reforms the governor said would help the neighborhoods most affected by gun violence.
“The real answer longterm is economic opportunity,” Rauner said. “The unemployment rate on the South Side of Chicago, on the West Side of Chicago is stunning. We have vital people in their 20s, 30s without jobs. It’s unconscionable.”