The city of Chicago on Tuesday announced the formation of a new partnership between anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois and the Chicago Police Department.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the city will be offering CeaseFire $1 million for the hiring of 40 violence "interrupters" who will be assigned to mediate conflicts in the city's Ogden and Grand Crossing police districts in the pilot violence reduction program.
"The amount of gun violence in our city is simply unacceptable," Chicago First Deputy Police Superintendent Alfonza Wysinger said at a Tuesday news conference, the Tribune reports. "We're not talking about numbers. We're talking about people."
The funding for the program, which is set to begin July 13, will be offered through the city's Department of Public Health, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"Working with CeaseFire will complement and enhance our gang violence reduction strategy, making Chicago a safer place for everyone," Wysinger said in a statement.
The Chicago Police Department initially reached out to CeaseFire late last month after a Memorial Day weekend where 11 people were killed and more than 40 others were wounded by gun violence. ABC Chicago reports they met in late May in begin to discuss the parameters of a partnership.
CeaseFire, which engages in interventions in risky neighborhoods and helps at-risk youth find employment, has never before received city funding for its work and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has publicly criticized the group previously. Their work was showcased in the critically-acclaimed 2011 documentary "The Interrupters," broadcast by PBS's Frontline series earlier this year.
"We're gonna work with CeaseFire in a different fashion, not the way that they've been working," McCarthy said earlier this month, WBEZ reports. "I'm not a big fan of the way that they've been working."
"[W]e’re new to McCarthy and he has to see we can get the job done," Hardiman told Time Out. "You’re not going to stop this [violence] by parachuting in. You’ve got to have boots on the ground to prevent someone from shooting."
As the New York Times pointed out on its front page Tuesday, homicides are up 38 percent in Chicago from a year ago, with 66 more deaths as of June 17 than recorded in that same period in 2011, mostly from gunfire.