CHICAGO (CBS) — With the city on pace to move to the next phase of reopening in one week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says authorities will be launching an “all-hands-on deck” public safety initiative for upcoming summer weekends, starting with the Memorial Day weekend.
“While I encourage all residents to celebrate the holiday, it remains imperative that we do so by staying inside and social distancing so we can continue to save lives and keep our fellow neighbors safe and healthy,” Lightfoot said in a statement Friday morning.
The city will launch a new Summer Operations Center (SOC) at the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Starting with the Memorial Day weekend, the SOC will monitor activity throughout the city every weekend this summer, and deploy resources and services as needed.
The center will be staffed by officials from the Chicago Park District, CTA, Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, and other city agencies.
“With the City’s new Summer Operations Center, all departments and agencies will be working together to ensure timely communication, coordination and response for the day-to-day activities of this weekend and any emergency incidents this summer,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “While we make every effort on behalf of the city to make it a memorable holiday weekend, we want everyone to know they have a role to play in keeping Chicago safe.”
New Chicago Police superintendent David Brown joins other city agencies to talk how they’re keeping Chicago safe during the Memorial Day holiday weekend — in the middle of a pandemic
— Marissa Parra (@MarParNews) May 22, 2020
The Lakefront will remain closed for the holiday weekend, and police bike units and marine units will patrol the area to make sure people obey the mayor’s closure order. Barricades and fences have been set up at Lakefront entrances to remind people to stay away.
The city’s inland parks will remain open for the Memorial Day weekend to provide people with a place to enjoy the outdoors, but the mayor’s office said park visitors must still follow public health guidelines, including staying at least six feet away from others, and wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Chicago Police officers also will step up patrols starting Friday, with more uniformed officers deployed to major transportation hubs and the city’s busiest streets.
Police districts also will partner with block clubs, violence interrupters, and other community organizations in an effort to curb gun violence.
Lightfoot’s office said while officers will focus on fighting crime, they will also continue enforcing the statewide stay-at-home order by dispersing any large crowds, and issuing citations when necessary.
“We are maximizing CPD’s police resources with one goal in mind—to save lives,” said Police Supt. David Brown. “Throughout the summer, officers will continue to be present in all areas of the city and equipped with the tools necessary to address the unique needs of the communities they serve.”
Police also will team up with several city departments to launch Operation Clean missions every weekend this summer, an effort to address quality of life issues in neighborhoods; such as fixing broken street lights, filling potholes, cleaning up graffiti, repairing damaged buildings, trimming overgrown trees, and cleaning dirty vacant lots.