A historical summary of the Mobile Strike Force.


The Mobile Strike Force was a unit within the Chicago Police Department known alternately as “MSF” and was assigned to the Special Functions Group of the Bureau of Patrol. Designated Unit 153, members utilized radio call signs in the 4400 series and operated on Citywide 1. The core mission of the unit was to disrupt gang activity through traditional and innovative policing methods. The unit was active from October 31, 2008 thru August 18, 2011 and was headquartered in the Homan Square Police Annex, located at 3340 W. Fillmore Avenue, on the third floor.


The unit was considered a cornerstone under former Superintendent Jody Weis’ administration. It was a crime-fighting strategy he initiated after taking the helm of the Chicago Police Department in early 2008. The Mobile Strike Force replaced the scandal-plagued Special Operations Section, which was disbanded under Superintendent Phil Cline in 2007. The unit was disbanded after several SOS officers were indicted for stealing money from drug dealers and other citizens after illegally making traffic stops or conducting unlawful searches of their homes.


At the units inception it was staffed by 131 sworn members, including one commander, two lieutenants, 13 sergeants and 115 police officers. In addition, one officer manager was assigned to the unit. The working plan alloted for 69 vehicles to be assigned to MSF, all of them marked. The unit had access to a full array of armored vehicles, personal protection gear, high-velocity weaponry and mobile satellite communications equipment. Officers assigned to the squad also responded to calls for tear gas to disperse unruly crowds. Many members of the former Special Operations Section were given first opourtunity to apply for assignment to MSF if they had no open investigations of a serious nature.

Due to the success of the unit and its operations, the unit was expanded and in October of 2010 the unit was comprissed of four companies consisting of 48 police officers, six sergeants and one lieutenant totaling 220 sworn members for all four companies. The fourth company was initially tasked as a temporary company, but became a permenant part of the unit.

The MSF’s focus was on drug and gang investigations and coordinated activities primarily with two established Chicago Police units, The Narcotics and Gang Section (NAGIS) and the Targeted Response Unit (TRU.) Unit members were generally assigned to afternoon and evening shifts, so that most of the units resources would be deployed during peak periods of violent crime.


All sworn patrolmen who had 3 years of continuous service as of November 1, 2008 were eligible to apply. All sergeants who had 1 year in grade as of November 1, 2008 were eligible to apply. Applicants should have had a proven work record and a good medical and disciplinary history.
Reference Sources

  • AMFN Message 084917: Mobile Strike Force (October 2008). “Mobile Strike Force.” Retrieved from Accessed February 3, 2014.