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Gary Mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson and Cook County, Illinois Sheriff, Tom Dart
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the city of Gary hosted the “Gun Trafficking Suppression Summit” Thursday afternoon at the city's Genesis Convention Center. 80 officials from over 20 Illinois and Indiana law enforcement agencies discussed strategies to prevent guns from landing in the wrong hands and how to close the loop on inter-state gun trafficking.
Immediately after the summit Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Cook County, Illinois Sheriff, Thomas Dart led a press conference. Mayor Freeman-Wilson says the summit showed how important it is to establish a “free-flow” of information between agencies, among departments from Illinois to Indiana that would allow police to do their jobs better.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich stated that problems across the state line are Northwest Indiana's problems too and that dialog between the two state agencies to share solutions needs to continue on a quarterly basis.
Cook County, Illinois Sheriff, Thomas Dart said cited University of Chicago research that shows nearly 25% of guns used in crimes and ceased in Chicago, originated from guns obtained in Indiana, particularly Lake County Indiana. Sheriff Dart adds that the two major causes of gun trafficking are gun shows and so-called “straw-purchases” where guns are bought by persons without any criminal records with the express purpose of redistributing to undesirables.
While the main message of the gun summit is cooperation between the two states' law enforcement communities, other issues were raised. Lake County Prosecuting Attorney, Bernard Carter says that there has to be a change in culture to address gun violence in Lake County and neighboring Chicago.
Carter pointed out that witness are afraid to come forward for fear of retribution and he says that unlike federal prosecutors, who can deny bail, prosecutors at the state level are bounded by the state constitution which allows for bail for any crime short of murder.
A visitor in the audience, former District Court Judge, Greg Mathis, who can be seen on the nationally televised TV show “Judge Mathis,” in a “surprise appearance” and according to the Times, “made a plea that the ‘Code of Silence’ among crime victims and witnesses who refuse to talk to police out of fear of retaliation,” should be one of the issues addressed.
Also attending Thursday press conference were U.S. Attorney David Capp, Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram, Portage Police Chief, Troy Williams and several state troopers from Illinois and Indiana.
You can listen to the entire press conference On Demand at http://www.regionnewsteam.com
Lake Co. Prosecutor, Bernard Carter, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Cook Co. Il. Sheriff, Tom Dart, U.S. Atty, David Capp, Lake Co. Sheriff, John Buncich.
Cook Co. Il. Sheriff, Tom Dart (far right) answers TV's "Judge Mathis" (far left)
Cook Co. Il. Sheriff, Tom Dart makes a point during Thursday's press conference at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary.
Facing the media at Thursday's press conference at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary.
University of Chicago data shows Indiana is top source for guns involving gun crimes in Illinois/Chicago.
(photos provided by Jay Stevens and Region Newws Team )
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