The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is weighing plans to put additional agents to Chicago in an effort to curb the Windy City’s violent crime surge, a senior agent acknowledged Saturday.
“ATF is exploring various options as we are committed to furthering law enforcement efforts in Chicago,” David Coulson, a senior agent at the ATF’s Chicago field office, told USA Today.
“One of those options is to send additional agents to Chicago on permanent transfers,” he added, though no plans yet yet to be finalized, the newspaper reported.
The agent’s acknowledgment came on the heels of CNN reporting Friday that the ATF plans to deploy approximately 20 agents to Chicago in a bid to “beef up” the federal presence there, citing two federal law enforcement officials familiar with the plans.
“We have received no word from the federal government to confirm these reports, but it would be welcome news if the administration has indeed agreed to one of Mayor Emanuel’s requests for federal resources,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office told CNN on Friday.
“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.”
President Trump frequently addressed Chicago’s deadly crime surge while campaigning for office, and last month threatened to deploy federal authorities there in a bid to reduce violence within the Windy City.
“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on,” Mr. Trump tweeted Jan. 24, “…I will send in the Feds!”
More than 700 people were murdered in Chicago last year, signaling the bloodiest year for the city since the turn of the century.
The ATF currently has more than 40 agents deployed around Chicago, CNN reported.