ORLANDO—President Donald Trump told law enforcement officers on Oct. 8 that he’s sending reinforcements to Chicago to “straighten it out.”
“I have directed the attorney general’s office to immediately go to the great city of Chicago to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave,” Trump told the approximately 4,000 law enforcement officers and their families at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention in Orlando.
“I’ve told them to work with local authorities to try to change the terrible deal the city of Chicago entered into with the ACLU, which ties law enforcement’s hands.”
Trump referenced a consent decree that was proposed for Chicago after its Obama-era federal version was quashed by the Trump administration last year. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police told Fox News in July that the consent decree is anti-police and needs to be tossed.
“The consent decree will make the simplest police duties and actions rife with ambiguity, and set up officers for discipline, no matter how professional or appropriate their conduct,” Chicago FOP Vice President Martin Preib wrote in a statement to Fox.
Trump said he wants Chicago to “strongly consider” amping up stop-and-frisk, the practice he attributes to the clean-up of a crime-riddled New York City in the 1990s.
“It went from an unacceptably dangerous city to one of the safest cities in the country and I think the safest big city in the country,” Trump said. “So it works—it’s got to be properly applied—but stop-and-frisk works.”
Stop-and-frisk or a “Terry stop” is a policing tactic where an officer stops and questions a person deemed to be suspicious. If the officer believes the person is dangerous, the officer may frisk the person, based on the precedent of the 1968 Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio.
So far this year (through Oct. 8), 2,346 people have been shot, according to statistics gathered by the Chicago Tribune. The total is 630 fewer than 2017.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said police can only do so much.
“We look at crime every day, every hour, and we readjust, readjust, readjust. But there is only so much the police can do,” he said at a press conference in August. “We cannot be on every street corner of this city, every moment of the day. We just can’t. That’s an impossibility.”
Johnson blamed gang violence, soft punishment for offenders, and an epidemic of illegal guns.
Trump said crime in Chicago is “a terrible blight on that city” and promised his administration will do everything possible to clean it up.
“I know the law enforcement people in Chicago and I know how good they are. They could solve the problem if they were simply allowed to do their job and do their job properly—and that’s what they want to do,” he said. “So, Chicago, we’ll start working with you as of today.”
‘The People of Our Country Love You’
Trump also reiterated his support for law enforcement, and derided attacks against officers.
“My administration will always honor, cherish, and support the men and women in blue—and we are proud to do it,” he said.
He said reducing crime starts with respecting law enforcement.
“For too many years, we have watched politicians escalate political attacks on our courageous police officers. And I’ve never seen it more than over the last few years. It’s disgraceful,” Trump said.
“Politicians who spread this dangerous, anti-police sentiment make life easier for criminals and more dangerous for law-abiding citizens. And they also make it more dangerous for police. And it must stop, and it must stop now.”
Trump said in 2016, a law enforcement officer was assaulted on an average of every nine minutes in the United States. “Is that even believable?” he said.
However, the steep surge in violent crime during 2015 and 2016 has abated, according to the latest FBI statistics.
The violent crime rate—including offenses such as murder, robbery, and aggravated assault—dropped by almost 1 percent in 2017.
“By the end of this year, murders in major cities are estimated to drop by close 10 percent from their levels in 2016,” Trump said.
Trump paid homage to fallen officers, including two widows in the audience. He mentioned officer Terrence Carraway, who was killed in the line of duty in Florence, South Carolina, on Oct. 3. Six other officers were injured during the incident.
“When a police officer is assaulted or killed, it’s a wound inflicted upon our entire nation,” Trump said. “You don’t hear it from the media, but I can tell you … the people of our country love you.”
He said cop killers, after a quick trial, should get the death penalty.
Funding for Opioids and School Safety
“Today, I’m announcing another $42.4 million for the high-intensity drug trafficking areas program. $6 billion last year to work on opioid problem at every level—including helping people,” Trump said.
He also said funding had been allocated last week to improve school safety.
“Through Stop School Violence grants, we’re giving local schools and police departments the resources they need to hire more officers and train more teachers and better detect and address early warning signs of mental illness before it’s too late.”
Trump invited onstage the four finalists for the Target Police Officer of the Year award, whose heroism was listed by the IACP as follows:
Officer Taylor Rust of the Plano, Texas, Police Department saved the lives of four civilians when responding to a report of shots fired in a residential neighborhood.
Patrol Officer Mark Dallas of the Dixon, Illinois, Police Department stopped an active shooter in a high school before the suspect could harm any of the students.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Nathaniel Dawson’s involvement in a high-speed vehicle pursuit of two armed suspects led to the confrontation and eventual capture of the suspects.
Sergeant Luis Celis of the Doral, Florida, Police Department played a key role in stopping an active-shooter incident at the Trump National Doral Resort, when he pursued and apprehended the shooter.
Dallas was announced as the winner of the award after Trump had left the stage.