Ford wants National Guard on West Side

State rep requests help from armed forces group to curb violence

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By TERRY DEAN

State Rep. LaShawn Ford (8th) on Monday called for the deployment of the Illinois National Guard on to Chicago streets to help curb rampant violence.

Joined by follow state representative John Fritchey, the Austin state rep encouraged Gov. Pat Quinn to work with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to bring the guard to the city. Daley raised doubts about the proposal Monday but did not reject it outright. Quoted in the Sun-Times, Daley called the concept a "band-aid" approach to a complex problem. He expressed sympathy with Ford's concerns over violence on the West Side.

The two state reps hosted a press conference at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Monday to make their case. Later Monday Ford's office released a press statement stating his intention to host a town hall meeting on May 10 to address the violence issue. The 8th legislative House district includes Austin, which has suffered from increased gun and gang violence in the past year. Citywide, more than 100 people have been killed in Chicago this year alone.

"The Chicago Police Department and Mayor Daley are working hard to combat violence, but we cannot accept it as a normal situation that someone is shot and killed in Chicago almost every day, with the West Side citizens whom I represent being affected at a much greater rate," said Ford in the release.

He stressed, though, that a "comprehensive approach to violence prevention," is needed, including improving education and creating more jobs.

"Increasing security by combating and preventing crime is only part of the solution," Ford said. "To address the root causes of violence, we need to improve the educational and job opportunities for citizens."

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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