ATF is Considering Sending More Agents to Chicago to Help Target Gun Violence

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Saturday that it is examining a variety options to address Chicago’s deadly crime surge, including sending a number of its agents to the city on permanent assignments.

David Coulson, an ATF senior agent in the Chicago field office, said the agency is still early in the process of developing strategies to bolster its efforts in the nation’s third-largest city.

“ATF is exploring various options as we are committed to furthering law enforcement efforts in Chicago,” Coulson said. “One of those options is to send additional agents to Chicago on permanent transfers.” No plans have been finalized yet.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city officials for the crime surge, which left the city with more that 760 murders and 4,300 shooting victims last year. The city tallied 51 murders and 299 shootings in the first month of 2017, a slight increase from the bloody start to last year.

The president has repeatedly made vague threats about federal intervention in Chicago. Emanuel, however, has repeatedly said he would welcome federal assistance — short of sending federal troops into the city.

Emanuel said he discussed the issue with Trump when they met in New York in December. He’s also talked about boosting federal assistance to fight crime with Vice President Pence and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

“It would be welcome news if the administration has indeed agreed to one of Mayor Emanuel’s requests for federal resources,” said Adam Collins, a spokesman for the Chicago mayor. “We remain hopeful that they will also provide added DEA and FBI agents, that they will boost the prosecution rate for federal gun crimes in Chicago, and that they will provide funding for successful violence prevention efforts.”

SOURCE: Aamer Madhani and Kevin Johnson