Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin wants more police on the West Side.
And he’s suggesting that deputies from the Cook County Sheriff’s office be called in to help bolster the Chicago Police Department.
In a letter recently sent to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Boykin says it’s clear Austin is under-policed and blames the mayor and previous administrations for the lack resources, which has led to a “full-blown public-safety crisis.”
“The citizens of Austin deserve the same level of law-enforcement protection afforded to people in the Loop and in other neighborhoods,” Boykin writes in the letter dated April 13.
He notes that seven people were killed in Austin in the first three months of 2015, more than died over the same period in 2014.
“It is obvious to all that the Westside has been deprived of the opportunity, prosperity and growth experienced by many other Chicago neighborhoods. Put simply, this neglect has gone on for too long, and the increases in violence and homicide are clear evidence of that neglect,” write Boykin, who’s serving his first year of a four-year term on the Cook County Board.
Boykin is not the first elected official to suggest an outside agency help police the West Side.
In 2010, state Rep. La Shawn Ford advocated for the Illinois National Guard to be deployed to help Chicago police, which he and others said were understaffed on the West Side.
Some residents, however, said they didn’t want one more police force patrolling Austin.
DNAinfo recently reported if Boykin doesn’t get the mayor’s backing, the first-term commissioner plans to introduce an ordinance before the county board to have deputies patrol Austin
“I am willing to do it, but I’d like to work with the mayor, I’d like to work with Supt. [Garry] McCarthy,” Boykin told DNAinfo.
This week, Boykin published an op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune, criticizing the mayor for ignoring escalating violence across the city.
“What’s most disturbing is that the mayor’s behavior is not indicative of a leader who believes that a public-safety crisis exists,” Boykin writes in the April 22nd commentary. “Emanuel’s Twitter feed reads like he is responsible for governing a different city than the one the rest of us live in.”
Saturday, May 2nd at 10 a.m, Boykin will convene an emergency meeting of public officials, law enforcement and residents to discuss strategies for fighting violence. The meeting will be held at Christ Tabernacle Church, 854 N. Central Ave.