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September 19, 2000

Governor Announces Gang Crime Action Plan Working
Operation Windy City, Catching Parole Violators

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan, joined by Chicago Police Department Deputy Superintendent Harvey Radney, and Illinois Department of Corrections Director Donald Snyder announced that more than 100 parolees have been returned to prison as a result of Operation Windy City, the innovative State-City partnership to address gang crime.

Governor Ryan delivered the Operation Windy City update at the Governor's Summit on Gangs, Guns and Drugs. Criminal justice officials, mayors, legislators, treatment providers and community activists participated in the Chicago conference to reduce crime. They focused not only on efforts to arrest criminals but also to efforts to attack the root cause of crime.

"Gangbangers, addicts, and gunrunners are not born," Governor Ryan said. "They were the kids who sat in our schools and ate at our dinner tables. But somewhere along the way, something went wrong and they joined a gang or started selling or using drugs. That's why we're here today."

Operation Windy City is an innovative partnership between the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Chicago Police Department. Operation Windy City was a deployment of a tactical force of 100 parole agents who ride along with police officers through targeted areas where gangs are known to frequent.

"We want to send a clear message to parolees: If you are hanging out with gangbangers, you are going back to prison," said Governor Ryan.

Seven separate operations have been conducted since Operation Windy City began in late July. As a result of these efforts, The Illinois Department of Corrections and the Chicago Police Department identified 851 parolee files for investigation. Out of the 330 parolees who have already been questioned by authorities, 181 have tested positive for drugs, and 103 have been returned to IDOC custody. 73 of the 103 returned to prison were returned because of gang affiliations.

"This summit serves as an opportunity for criminal justice experts from all over the state to come together and address how to prevent violence from ever happening and how to keep the rest of the public safe from these offenders," said Ryan.

In holding the Summit on Gangs, Guns and Drugs, Governor Ryan fulfilled a campaign promise to address the problems of guns and violence throughout communities in Illinois. During his opening remarks, Governor Ryan highlighted several accomplishments of his administration that implement stringent and effective gun control legislation.

"From day one, we have worked to combat the proliferation of guns and drugs and the presence of organized violent gangs in our communities," Ryan said. "Within the first 100 days of my administration we secured passage of both the 15-20-LIFE law to keep violent criminals behind bars, and the Child Gun Access Prevention Law to require trigger locks that will help prevent tragic accidents and senseless acts of violence. Now we must focus on how to prevent our children from choosing the wrong path in life."


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