CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday raised the possibility of bringing in state troopers or even the Illinois National Guard to help Chicago combat a recent increase in violent crime -- an offer that Mayor Richard Daley didn't know was coming.
Appearing at signing ceremony for a bill that toughens the penalty for adults who provide guns to minors, Blagojevich said "violent crime in the city of Chicago is out of control."
"I'm offering resources of the state to the city to work in a constructive way with Mayor Daley to do everything we can possibly do to help ... stop this violence," said the governor.
Blagojevich said Daley had not asked for help and he had not talked to the mayor about offering it, adding he would call Daley after he met later in the day with the state police, National Guard and others.
Which seems a bit odd. Daley didn't seem to ask for the help, but there's the Governor offering it.
The role the National Guard would play is apparently undecided. His office did some serious backpedaling:
Blagojevich said it is far more likely that state troopers would be used than guardsmen. In fact, his office moved quickly after the governor's comments to stress in a news release that Blagojevich was not considering bringing in National Guard troops to the city.
"The only way the National Guard would be involved, if they are involved, is with the use of tactical helicopters that are currently used in narcotics operations," spokesman Lucio Guerrero said in a prepared statement.
Likely the prospect of using a military force to keep order in a major city struck some as a little extreme, even if it's so Chicago has a chance at hosting the Olympics in 2016.