CHICAGO, April 27 (UPI) -- Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said he backs a measure proposed by his new police superintendent to arm police with semiautomatic assault rifles.
Daley said Saturday it was "not a difficult decision" to put the weapons of the Chicago police on par with those of area criminals, The Chicago Sun-Times said.
"We are finding out that the weapons of criminals are getting bigger and bigger,'' Daley said. "Many times, (police) are outgunned, to be very frank.''
Chicago Special Weapons and Tactics teams already carry M4 semiautomatic assault rifles, but Daley said general officers can't hold up against criminals who carry AK-47s and other high-powered weapons, The Chicago Tribune said.
Police Superintendent Jody Weis said the proposal is part of a wider crime-fighting strategy aimed at boosting the strength of the 13,000 rank-and-file Chicago police officers.
There were 24 Chicago public school children killed by gun-violence since the beginning of the 2008 school year and a gunmen armed with an AK-47 injured 27 people during a battle with police last weekend.