The governor’s office said 125 members of the Illinois National Guard will deploy to Chicago beginning on Tuesday to support the Chicago Police Department as needed.
“At the request of Mayor Lightfoot, I am activating members of the Illinois National Guard to support the city in keeping our communities safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “It is critical that those who wish to peacefully protest against the systemic racism and injustice that holds back too many of our communities continue to be able to do so. Members of the Guard and the Illinois State Police will support the City of Chicago’s efforts to protect the rights of peaceful protestors and keep our families safe.”
Governor Pritzker also directed the Illinois State Police to support the Chicago Police Department with additional troopers. The troopers will work closely with Chicago police and other local law enforcement.
“Our greatest priority at all times is ensuring the safety and security of the public,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “While there is no actionable intelligence at this time, we want to be fully prepared out of an abundance of caution. Our city has a long history of peacefully expressing its First Amendment rights and I encourage residents to exercise their rights to free speech this coming week thoughtfully, respectfully and peacefully.”
Soldiers assigned to this mission are from the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Military Police Battalion. They are specially trained in riot control operations, the governor’s office said.
Last summer, 375 Illinois National Guard members were deployed to Chicago during unrest following the death of George Floyd.