* From a press release…
Governor Pat Quinn today directed the Illinois State Police to deploy 40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods. The action follows the city’s request for assistance and is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people in every community across Illinois.
“The state of Illinois will do whatever is necessary to protect public safety – in Chicago and every community across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Earlier this year I told Mayor Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city. When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help.”
At the Governor’s direction, the State Police will deploy troopers to areas coordinated with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The State Police and CPD will set up 20 to 25 “surge” teams with five Chicago Police officers and two State Troopers on each team. The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories who are wanted by law enforcement. The troopers will come from State Police districts across the state. The assistance will be accommodated with current State Police resources.
State Police Colonel Michael Zerbonia will coordinate the effort. Zerbonia is chief of operations for the State Police and has more than 30 years of military service. He joined the Illinois National Guard in 1991 after three years as an air defense artillery officer, served in Iraq from June 2005 to June 2006 and was deputy brigade commander for the Polish 12th Mechanized Brigade in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was promoted to Brigadier General within the Illinois National Guard in February 2014 and currently serves as Illinois Army National Guard Land Forces Component Commander.
Forty isn’t a lot, but it’s better than nothing. At least the mayor has swallowed his pride on this one, but he has now opened the door to questions about the sufficiency of Chicago police staffing levels.
*** UPDATE *** The ISP’s top guy recently bemoaned current staffing levels…
The Illinois State Police graduated 37 state troopers today Friday, the last class the academy will graduate for a while. State police officials say they can’t train more due to the state’s budget. […]
State Police Director Hiram Grau says the state funding the agency was counting on didn’t come through.
“This class graduates today and I wish I had another class coming in after them, but … we’re going to have to operate with the manpower that we have,” he said. “We really do need some more bodies.”
For a while now, the state police has compensated short staffing by making overtime part of the regular schedule.