CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Chicago will deploy a 30+ team of “Peacekeepers” ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, “historically a time of increased violence.”

In 2022, 50 people were shot, 9 of them killed over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Citywide Crisis Prevention & Response Unit (CPRU) consists of trained neighborhood “Peacekeepers,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The “Peacekeepers” have undergone “comprehensive training including, crowd de-escalation tactics, crisis interruption, and program referral and support,” the release said.

The CPRU is described as “a highly mobile team that is specifically designed to prevent violence and address conflict and crises in the City of Chicago.”

“The most important work we do is keeping our communities safe, and this is another important step towards addressing violence and conflict through research-based, community-focused approaches,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “[The Illinois Department of Human Services] is creatively utilizing their funding to find high-impact solutions to the current problems facing Chicago, and I’m thankful for their hard work heading into the summer months.”

The Peacekeeper program is funded by the Reimagine Public Safety Act, a $250 million anti-violence initiative created as a reaction to the murder of George Floyd. Cities nationwide began to rethink the role of law enforcement following nationwide protests and civil unrest over Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis Police officer.

“This expanded training equips violence prevention coordinators to operate beyond their typical neighborhoods to address other areas of potential conflict or crisis, such as recent large teen gatherings in downtown Chicago or mass casualty events,” the governor’s office said in a press release.

The program is “designed to center equity in anti-violence work, ensuring that the staff deployed to serve communities are representative of and share backgrounds with those communities.”