Chicago’s police superintendent recently announced the creation of a community policing plan to direct all areas of the department – from patrols to executive staff – to be more engaged in building trust with the community.
According to an AP report, the Community Policing Strategy Plan will include the creation of an athletic and arts league for the city’s youth in an effort to drive down crime, and will appoint specialized officers to engage with the city’s homeless, religious, immigrant and LGBT communities.
Police Superintendent David Brown was optimistic about the plan. He said, “Arguably, this will be the most significant commitment of effort, resources and leadership to building trust in Chicago PD’s history. This plan that we’re rolling out today is the best way to reduce crime in Chicago.”
He added, “It’s the only way to police. Policing is best done with the community involved. Policing is a people business.”
The liaisons to religious and LGBTQ communities are part of a new “civil rights unit.”
Deputy Chief Angel Novalez, head of the city’s community policing office, said, “We recognized that marginalized communities needed their voices elevated. we understood that our relationships with these communities was not where we wanted them to be.”
CPD will also revitalize their Neighborhood Policing initiative – an update of the earlier 1994 Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy. The plan calls on people living in the city’s neighborhoods to help police identify problems and come up with solutions.
However, some are less optimistic about the new development. Ja’Mal Green, an activist with a youth mentorship group in Chicago, has heard various unsuccessful iterations of the same plan before. He believes that people in the neighborhoods do not trust police officers and will not be cooperative with them.
“We have to look at reorganizing public safety, as a whole,” Green said. “People do not trust police. They are traumatized when they see them. We have not gotten to the place where police are on the street serving as they say they are.”