Ald. Knudsen releases public safety plan in buildup to 43rd Ward runoff


Quentin Blais

Timmy Knudsen, 43rd Ward Alderman and candidate for the upcoming aldermanic race, attended the Student Government Association (SGA) Q&A session on Oct. 26, 2022.

With the aim of retaining his appointed seat as the 43rd Ward’s alderman in Tuesday’s runoff election, Timmy Knudsen revealed his community policing plan on Saturday.

The plan focuses on increasing the number of officers in the ward and increasing police presence through an emphasis of on-the-ground officers. Knudsen believes filling department office roles with civilians will free up more officers to patrol the beat, a strategy outlined in his plan.

“By some estimates, there are hundreds of officers who could be moved to patrol in the districts in coming months,” Knudsen wrote in his plan. “Places like New York and Los Angeles – desk, law, and data jobs are done by civilians, which allows sworn personnel to focus on what they do best: build relationships in the neighborhoods they serve.”

Much of Chicago has seen various trends of increased crimes in recent years, and Knudsen’s ward is no different. Public safety is a central issue to the race, dominating debates and forums throughout the election, as crimes like motor vehicle theft saw a 65% increase in 2022 from five years prior in the 43rd Ward, according to the Chicago Data Portal.

Knudsen’s opponent in the runoff, Brian Comer –who currently serves as beat facilitator for 18th police district – recently made public a proposal to add officers through a program incentivizing tuition reimbursement to DePaul students who join the Chicago Police Department (CPD).

The contested race will likely be decided Tuesday night in its second round after Knudsen finished on top in the first round with 27% of the vote on Feb. 28, while Comer came in second with 24%. 

In the plan, Knudsen also outlined five other points to improve safety in the ward. In addition to adding officers, Knudsen’s plan stresses police ownership over the beat they patrol, prioritizing internal CPD promotion, reinvigorating CPD strategic centers and crime labs, enhancing penalties for illegal possession of firearms and community oversight for improving CPD accountability.

On Comer’s campaign website, he too emphasizes staffing, stating his first priority will be to “put in a formal request for more cops on [the ward’s] streets.” 

The race recently featured some controversy following a police incident on March 10 in Lincoln Park, when Comer recorded and posted a video to Facebook incorrectly stating an officer had been shot. The video has since been removed.

In a debate on March 23, Knudsen criticized Comer’s actions regarding the incident, calling out his opponent for “spreading fear within our ward.”

Registered voters of the 43rd Ward have until 7 p.m. on Tuesday to cast votes in the aldermanic race. Early voting can be done at any city polling locations, while same-day voters must vote at a universal polling place or in their own precinct.