Chicago's Top Cop Deploys SWAT Officers Onto City's Transit System
Chicago, IL – Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck is deploying SWAT officers onto the public transit system in response to a sharp increase in violent crime on train lines.
Superintendent Beck said that he and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would be releasing a new security plan for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) that would include additional police resources, WBBM reported.
“In the interim, starting today, we’re going to be putting additional resources onto the train lines, additional police resources onto the train lines, including SWAT officers. Not SWAT officers in full tactical gear, but SWAT officers that are the best and the brightest of my police officers, to make sure that the trains are safe,” the police commissioner explained.
Serious crimes reported on the CTA have jumped from 2,737 in 2016 to 4, 497 in 2019, according to WBBM.
Earlier in February, Superintendent Beck promised to put 50 more officers on the trains and platforms by March.
“It will be a vastly increased presence, including some technology and including some participation by CTA,” he said.
The superintendent said the city needed to protect the 1.6 million Chicagoans who ride the trains on an average weekday, WBBM reported.
“All of us need to feel safe, and the young people that ride the transportation system need to know that they will not be victims of crime, and that they will be safe in their journeys,” he said.
Concerns about the lack of police presence on CTA trains skyrocketed after a series of violent attacks on passengers in February, according to WBBM.
A 30-year-old man exiting a Blue Line train at the University of Illinois Chicago – Halstead stop was shot in the back on Feb. 5.
And a 35-year-old man was stabbed in the arm on Feb. 10 on the Red Line at the 79th Street platform, WBBM reported.
On Monday, a shooting in the Loop CTA tunnel left one person dead and two seriously wounded.
First-degree murder charges against 23-year-old Torrez Cathery were announced on Thursday in connection with that incident, WBBM reported.
Suspects have also been charged in the other two February incidents.
Superintendent Beck told reporters that deploying the SWAT officers onto the trains was just a first step in a much stronger new security plan.