An interesting report regarding the security detail that accompanies Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been published by the Chicago Sun-Times and reveals she has been secretly protected by what’s being called a “specialist squad.”
Chicago police’s previous unknown Unit 544, which consists of 65 officers along with five sergeants and a lieutenant, is assigned to protect the mayor — in addition to her personal bodyguard detail of about 20 officers. This was reported citing public records and was set up the same year she pushed to slash $80 million from the police budget.
Also known as the Government Security Detail, the unit’s potential recruits were told its “mission will be to provide physical security for City Hall, the mayor’s residence, and the mayor’s detail command post,” the paper said.
“Through the coordination of intelligence and resources, officers will respond to all threats related to the mayor’s physical properties to ensure its protection,” a recruitment memo reportedly said.
Originally sent in July 2020, Lightfoot would backtrack on the call to defund the force during protests over the murder of George Flood, and ultimately increase the budget.
Lightfoot confirmed the existence of Unit 544, insisting that it was set up to cover for the lack of a “unified command” for potential mayoral emergencies.
“And then obviously, in 2020 in particular, there were a significant amount of protests all over the city, and some of them targeted at my house,” she told the Sun-Times.
“All the more reason why having a unified command to understand and share intelligence and be ready to respond if there was any kind of threat was very important,” she said.
Since the controversial move, 660 cops retired in 2021 — almost twice as many as in 2018, and Lightfoot, has seen the city’s murder rate jump to a 25-year high. According to the latest statistics from the Chicago Police Department, that is a whopping 74 percent since 2019 — with 113 killings recorded since the start of the year, compared to the 65 seen in 2019.
Violent and sexual assaults are also up this year, with the city recording 12 more incidents this year than this time in 2021. Gun violence has tracked less slightly, down from 497 shootings last year to 449 so far in 2022.
This is a still-developing story.