Johnson lays out strategy for the holiday weekend: 'Your safety is my top priority'

Brandon Johnson
Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson speaks to business and political leaders during an event to officially announce Chicago as the host city for the 2024 Democratic National Convention on April 12, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago officials have announced a safety plan for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Mayor Brandon Johnson was flanked Thursday by police, members of the fire department, aldermen and others at a windy 63rd Street Beach to announce the city's plans for a safe kickoff to summer.

“However you decide to spend your holiday weekend in Chicago, your safety is my top priority,” Johnson said.

Neighborhood schools will be open this weekend to offer activities that promote peace and support young people, he said. Offerings will include movies, sports activities and talent competitions.

Chicago Police Interim Supt. Fred Waller said his department has an early start on crime-prevention efforts after making several arrests to bust an open-air drug market.

Police said they are beefing up their presence downtown and on the CTA. Authorities say officers will be conducting bag checks at beaches and at Millennium Park.

Police resources will not be moved at the expense of neighborhoods, Waller said. “We won’t neglect the neighborhoods just for downtown."

Sworn officers will have one day off canceled this weekend to beef up staffing, a practice that has been criticized as dangerous to the well-being of officers. Waller said it’s standard procedure for Memorial Day and other major holiday weekends.

“We take the wellness of our officers seriously. And I want them to know that I appreciate them and the city appreciates them,” he said.

Meantime, fire officials stressed safety at the city's beaches by saying people should not swim without a lifeguard on duty.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

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Featured Image Photo Credit: (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)