The Chicago Police Department's Community Policing Advisory Panel released its first draft of recommendations for reform late Wednesday – and they want the public to weigh in.
The panel, formed in 2016, is dedicated to developing a new strategic plan for community policing, an area in which the U.S. Department of Justice specifically noted in its January report that the city is lacking.
The Community Policing Advisory Panel consists of national experts in the field, Chicago community leaders and members of CPD leadership – with the intention of making Chicago safer by rebuilding trust with residents.
The recommendations include ways the department will “build, expand and invest in community policing,” according to CPD, and were developed with input from town hall meetings, surveys, focus groups and online feedback.
A key part of community policing is the development of trusting relationships within the communities that officers serve, the panel said. However, many residents said in conversations and surveys that they rarely had an opportunity to develop relationships with officers because “they never get out of their cars unless they are responding to calls.”
Thus, the panel found that the department’s Office of Community Policing should identify community stakeholders willing to act as liaisons to introduce new officers to their districts and serve as “mentors.”
The department should also develop a process for community input as well as develop a strategy to use social media to interact with residents on a regular basis, the panel found.
When it comes to engagement with people between the ages of 16 and 24 years old, the panel advised Superintendent Eddie Johnson to create a “Youth Advisory Council” to meet regularly and discuss ways to improve the relationship between police and young people.
Each police district should also form its own “Young Council,” the panel recommended.
More effective community policing requires officers to have more training in the area, according to the panel – which recommends that the philosophy of community policing be woven into all parts of the recruit training curriculum.
The report includes several more recommendations for problem solving, leveraging technology and coordination with other City of Chicago departments when it comes to community policing.
These reforms are scheduled to go into effect in the fall, but before they can be implemented, CPD is asking the public for recommendations on the 21-page report.
Chicago residents can give feedback at town halls each of the next three Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations:
- Aug. 10 at Corliss Early College STEM High School, located at 821 E. 103rd St.
- Aug. 17 at Sullivan High School, located at 6631 N. Bosworth Ave.
- Aug. 24 at George Westinghouse College Prep, located at 3223 W. Franklin Blvd.
You can also give input online over a 30-day public comment period.
"A comprehensive and thoughtful approach to community policing is how CPD will build trust and meaningful partnerships with the residents we serve,” Johnson said in a statement.
"The launch of this comment period is part our commitment to implementing a community policing strategy that is created by Chicagoans for Chicagoans," he continued. "I am thankful to the CPAP panel for their hard work and I encourage every resident to have their voices heard as we finalize this important framework."
“This is not ever going to be a bunch of people in headquarters making a decisions on what’s best,” added Glen Brooks, CPD’s Deputy Director of Public Engagement. “We’ve tried that, that doesn’t work. What works better is when we work with community members and we work with our officers.”
Read the full report below: