COST TO DEPLOY 1,200 NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS IN CITY FOR 4 MONTHS:
A four-month deployment by 1,200 members of the Illinois National Guard to stop Chicago’s cycle of gang violence would cost taxpayers $54 million and stigmatize entire South and West Side neighborhoods for years, aldermen were told Wednesday.
Alicia Tate-Nadeau, acting director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, testified Wednesday before the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety about a resolution to declare a state of emergency in Chicago that could pave the way for the Illinois National Guard to either relieve police officers working 12-hour days or protect neighborhood assets so local officers can respond to violent crime.
Tate-Nadeau said a four-month deployment by 1,200 National Guard members would cost $13.6 million per month — $54.4 million total. That money is “not reimbursable” by the federal government.
But Chicago first would have to demonstrate it has exhausted all other resources, including Illinois State Police and Cook County sheriff ’s officers.
Tate-Nadeau also warned the National Guard is limited to a “support role.” They can set roadblocks and staff checkpoints, but only with “on-site assistance” by Chicago police. The citizen-soldiers cannot detain anyone.
“Also, it cannot be overstated the visual effect of having armed, uniformed soldiers on the streets of Chicago. This could have an unintended effect and make people feel less safe in their communities and could result in areas of the city becoming stigmatized for days, weeks, and even years to come,” TateNadeau said.
The vote on the Guard resolution comes next week. But it was clear the votes are not there.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has strongly opposed calling out the National Guard, and Police Supt. David Brown was equally adamant Wednesday, saying few guardsmen “have any experience policing civilians or dealing with the violent crime” Chicago faces.
They don’t have “a standard set of rules of engagement on domestic soil.” They can’t be used to “free up CPD resources,” since they don’t have arrest powers.
“I firmly believe that Chicago needs to solve its own problems,” he said.
Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) was incensed by the opposition.
Lopez said a support role is what he envisioned when he co-sponsored the resolution. He noted the city had “no problem asking 345 National Guardsmen to create a perimeter to protect the Central Business District” after the first round of looting in early June.
“Now, neighborhoods like mine — in Back of the Yards or Brighton Park or Gage Park or West Englewood — are being told that they have to basically fend for themselves because, what’s good for downtown isn’t good enough for them because of some lie that’s being perpetrated,” Lopez said.
Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), who has served Chicago as both a police officer and a firefighter, argued police districts have been stripped of officers to protect downtown “at any expense” — and rightfully so.
“We’re leaving our neighborhoods throughout the city with little to no police presence. To me, this is unacceptable. We need to bring in the National Guard,” said Napolitano, whose Far Northwest Side ward is home to scores of Chicago Police officers.
Johnny Leland is shown in June, dumping some shards of glass onto a trash pile from the aftermath of protests and looting on the South Side. Some Chicago aldermen want to bring in the Illinois National Guard to help with security downtown and in the neighborhoods.