A Marine Reserve intelligence officer recently returned from Iraq is helping the department create a new unit that will replace the scandal-plagued Special Operations Section.
Chicago Police Lt. James Roussell and department brass are putting the final touches on the more than 100-member Mobile Strike Force, which could be activated by the end of the month.
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Chicago Police Officer Jerome Finnigan was the alleged ringleader of the scandal-plagued Special Operations Section. (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)
Still, police spokeswoman Monique Bond stressed that the unit is still in the planning stage.
Like the SOS unit dismantled last year, officers in the new unit will roam the city making gun and drug arrests. Typically, SOS officers seized about 10 percent of the weapons the department confiscated every year, sources said.
In a meeting with aldermen in July, police Supt. Jody Weis disclosed the possibility of creating a "better trained, better supervised" version of SOS.
The unit is being resurrected at a time when murders are up nearly 13 percent for the first nine months of 2008. That toll includes three slain Chicago Police officers.
Sources said the new unit is separate from the Targeted Response Unit — which is comprised of two teams of 80 officers who react to crime hot spots.
The Mobile Strike Force will be more "proactive" than TRU, a source said.
Each sergeant in the new unit will supervise eight officers. "There will be a lot more safeguards in place" than in SOS, the source said.
The officers, who can ask to be transferred into the unit, will get extensive training in law, tactics, investigations and search warrants, the source said.
Roussell spent 13 years in the Austin District gang unit before moving to O’Hare Airport as a sergeant in 2001. More recently, he was a lieutenant in TRU and the Deployment Operations Center.
He also recently served three years in Iraq, targeting insurgents.
As the department moves to replace SOS, the scandal continues to play out in court. Criminal charges are pending against seven officers for allegedly robbing and kidnapping citizens.
Two of the them — alleged ringleader Jerome Finnigan and Officer Keith Herrera — are now trying to cut deals with Cook County prosecutors, according to a recent court filing.
Their attorneys told Cook County Judge John Fleming that their clients are "attempting to reach a resolution" to the charges, according to a court filing last week.
"The terms of the resolution are to be discussed at the next criminal court hearing, which is set for Nov. 6," the filing said.
Don't we have enough units !!! Weis is depleting the manpower on the streets even more .
Let me tell you this unit will never be like SOS , times have changed . It doesnt matter how many guns you get off the streets these homicides rates will be the same . These people are savages with no regard for human life period. They will keep on killing .
My concern is for the beat officers who have to work 99 because of manpower issues how about the safety of our officers .
WE ALREADY HAVE TRU , AREA GUN TEAMS , SATURATION TEAMS how many more units do we need ?