ANNOUNCING a new policy to help public housing residents ``take back their homes'' without violating the Constitution, President Clinton said Saturday that tenants will be asked to allow police to conduct sweep searches for guns.
Mr. Clinton said his administration also will encourage ``more weapons frisks of suspicious persons.''
In his weekly radio address, the president outlined steps to rid public housing of firearms despite the ruling of a federal court in Chicago that searches conducted without legal search warrants violate constitutional protections against unwarranted search and seizure.
Although the new policy is national in scope, it will be targeted immediately on Chicago, where gangs and guns in scores of high-rise public housing projects are seen as an immediate threat.
Clinton, frustrated by this setback to get rid of drugs, guns, and crime in public housing, had assigned Attorney General Janet Reno and Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros ``to devise a constitutional, effective way to protect the residents of America's public housing communities.''
In his address, the president said he had dispatched Mr. Cisneros to Chicago to make emergency funds available for enforcement and prevention in ``gang-infested public housing.''
``We'll put more police in public housing, crack down on illegal gun trafficking, and fill vacant apartments where criminals hide out,'' he said.
Ms. Reno and Mr. Cisneros told Clinton in a letter that leases in public housing projects should be modified to include a clause giving police advance authorization for sweeps for guns, said administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Leases routinely contain clauses that allow management to enter apartments for safety reasons or in cases of emergencies.
``This new policy honors the principles of personal and community responsibility...,'' Clinton said. US risks in UN operations
THE chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the US should be involved in United Nations peacekeep-ing operations even though American military personnel may die.
General John Shalikashvili was in Fairbanks, Alaska, after 26 people, including 15 Americans, were killed when two US helicopters were mistakenly shot down by US fighter jets.
Shalikashvili had little new to say about Thursday's downing of the two US Blackhawk helicopters. He told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that there has been too much public speculation about the accident.
US and allied fighter jets resumed patrols over northern Iraq Saturday after a one-day halt in the wake of the downing of the helicopters, the Pentagon said.
The US European Command ordered the protective flights resumed on a reduced schedule over a ``no fly'' zone set up in 1991 by the allies to protect Kurds in northern Iraq, Defense Department spokesman Harold Heilsnis said.
The tragedy in the skies over northern Iraq called attention to the largely anonymous, US-led military and relief mission in that region in the three years since the Gulf War.
The United States is chiefly responsible for providing protection for northern Iraqi Kurds against the Baghdad regime and coordinating with others in providing food, fuel, electricity, and health services to the beleaguered Kurds.