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40 state troopers headed to Chicago to help combat violence

By Melodi Smith and Katherine Grise, CNN
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dozens of Illinois State Police to be sent to Chicago to combat gun violence
  • Troopers to form "surge" teams with Chicago police
  • The 40 officers are expected to be added in the next 30 days

(CNN) -- In yet another sign of the gravity of Chicago's violent crime problem, 40 Illinois State Police officers will soon hit the streets in beleaguered neighborhoods.

The officers represent an expansion of a partnership between Chicago Police and the Illinois State Police.

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"Earlier this year I told (Chicago) Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city. When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help," Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said in a press release announcing the move.

The 40 officers will join the Chicago Police Department's Fugitive Unit and help search for wanted criminals.

"I'm proud to bring so many partners together to focus on real solutions that will help ensure every child in every neighborhood has the safety and opportunities they deserve," Emanuel said in a press release.

The additional officers are expected to be added in the next 30 days.

Chicago is suffering through an awful summer of violent shootings. Over the Fourth of July weekend alone more than 60 people were shot and nine were killed.

The state police and Chicago Police will form "surge" teams with five Chicago Police officers and two state troopers, according to the press release from Quinn's office. The teams will work to find known violent criminals in an effort to get them off of the streets of Chicago.

The expanded partnership will be funded with current state police resources.

And at the city level, steps have been taken to get more boots on the ground. Last week, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy ordered 150 officers to be taken off of administrative jobs and added to street patrol, Monday through Thursday, CNN affiliate WLS reported.

In addition to heightened police forces, the city is also taking a softer approach to quell crime.

A local supermarket chain will provide food for Faith in Action community events. These events, hosted by community and faith groups, take place in neighborhoods most impacted by violence.

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After Faith in Action events were held over Memorial Day, there were no shootings in Chicago for 42 hours, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

"I am very pleased that Mayor Emanuel has committed to a community process to address our public safety challenges," said the Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes of the West Point Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. "He is listening and responding."

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