When President Donald Trump offered this week to "send in the Feds" if Chicago authorities couldn't put a lid on violence, he didn't explain what exactly he'd have the government do.
Whatever he envisions, it probably already exists.
Agents from the federal government's premier crime-fighting units — the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — work with Chicago police to combat gun-running, drug dealing and gangs, the forces that drive the city's rising murder rate.
The city also receives millions of dollars in federal grants to train and equip officers, and support anti-violence social programs.
And the Department of Justice is negotiating a civil settlement with the city that aims to end excessive use of force and build public trust.
The president, who campaigned as the "law and order" candidate, has made a habit of calling out Chicago's murder rate and offering puzzling hints on how he'd handle it. There were 762 homicides in the city last year, nearly 300 more than 2015, and the pace continues to alarm: On Wednesday, six people were shot at a memorial for victims of gun violence.
In September, Trump said he'd press for Chicago to implement a stronger stop-and-frisk policy — even though the federal government has no say in local crime-fighting strategies. The tactic has been found in many cities, including Chicago, to be used disproportionately against black and Latino people, damaging public trust.
Earlier this month, before taking office, the Republican president ribbed Emanuel, a Democrat and former top aide to Barack Obama, about Chicago's 2016 murder tally — the worst since the 1990s — saying, "If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!"
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Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!
But the Justice Department has found the opposite to be the case. In a report released two weeks ago, it outlined a litany of abuses by Chicago police over the last four years, including cops shooting at fleeing suspects, using physical force to retaliate against people and routinely botching investigations of misconduct. The force also has a longer, darker history that includes the torture of suspects and forced confessions.
Trump inherited that case, in which the Justice Department and Chicago are negotiating a consent decree that would force reforms. Trump and his pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, have said they oppose intervention in local police affairs. They could choose not to enforce it.
He said he hoped the Trump administration would continue to fund grants that went not only to police but to other anti-violence initiatives, including programs that provide after-school activities and summer jobs for young people.
That, however, may be in jeopardy.
On Wednesday, Trump reiterated his promise to "crack down" on "sanctuary cities" that refuse to round up people who are in the country illegally. He signed an executive order that empowers federal officials to withdraw federal grants from those places. Chicago is one of them.