Local, Park Forest, Politics

Rep. Rita, State Police Take on Violent Crime Locally in Roundtable Discussion

Roundtable discussion on crime
Four individuals from the crime roundtable, from left to right: Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly, State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, ISP Major Matt Gainer, Division of Criminal Investigation, ISP Captain David Keltner, Division of Patrol. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Calumet Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- State Rep. Bob Rita brought together the state and local leaders on the frontlines of the fight against serious violent crime in a roundtable discussion to find new solutions as his communities grapple with the problem.

Rep. Rita, D-Blue Island, recently hosted a “Combatting Crime Roundtable Discussion” at Calumet Township Community Center in Calumet Park. On hand were mayors and police chiefs from the communities in Rita’s 28th House District in the south suburbs, and the discussion was led by top officials at the Illinois State Police.

ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly provided an update on the placement of license plate cameras along nearby interstates to catch criminals involved in shootings. There also was discussion of efforts by local task forces on major crimes and carjacking, support needed for local police and anti-violence programs, and discussion about enforcement, funding, and potential legislative solutions in Springfield.

Afterward, Rita reiterated his commitment to working with the State Police and his local communities to provide what’s needed to restore a sense of safety throughout the district.

“We know there is a criminal threat in our neighborhoods that is serious and growing, and we have to come together and bring every resource possible to stop the threat for now and for good,” Rita said about the roundtable. “I appreciate Director Kelly and my local officials uniting to discuss these problems and possible solutions, and I am committed to pursuing legislation and resources needed to keep our communities safe.”

“The Illinois State Police works tirelessly to protect the safety of all Illinois residents, but we need communities working with state and local law enforcement to help stop the violence,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. “This kind of gathering of law enforcement leaders and local stakeholders is part of the hard work of advancing the cause of safety and justice together.”

Local officials participating in the discussion thanked Rita for bringing into one room the local and state expertise needed to collaborate and work better together. Calumet Park Mayor Ronald Denson said he learned more about how the State Police could help when violent crime happens, such as putting cameras on expressways, and the need to get more towns coordinating through the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force.

“I thought it went extremely well,” Denson said. “We talked more about the Task Force getting more towns involved in the Task Force to help us solve some of the crimes that are happening here.”

Robbins Police Chief David Sheppard said his team needs more focus on keeping dangerous weapons out of criminals’ hands.

“The Robbins Police Department has recovered an unusually high amount of extended 30-round magazines and high-powered weapons,” Sheppard said. “We request help with the reduction of illegal firearms.”

Tim Kristin, City Administrator for Oak Forest, echoed the call for stronger collaboration among Rita’s communities.

“The Roundtable shows how the South Suburban area needs to continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to address the problem of violence in Cook County,” Kristin said. “I appreciate Rep. Rita for inviting me to this event.”

South suburban communities represented at the Roundtable discussion were Calumet Park, Blue Island, Riverdale, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Robbins, Posen, and Crestwood.

This is news from Rep. Bob Rita’s office.