Six new police officers hit the streets in Rogers Park this week, as Chicago Police deployed 53 new officers across the City’s 23 police districts. The deployments are the latest installment of the plan to grow the Chicago Police Department by nearly 1,000 officers.
Despite a series of horrific shooting incidents last fall, which included the death of school teacher Cynthia Trevillion and the injury of a young man who was a target of gang recruitment, the 49th Ward last year experienced a 33% decrease in homicides as compared to 2016 and a 31% decrease in shooting incidents.
The reduction in shooting incidents continued a trend that began two years ago. Since 2015, the 49th Ward has seen a 42% decrease in shootings.
Here are the numbers:
Though we’ve experienced a reduction in violence, four homicides and 18 shootings in a year are nothing to celebrate. Any loss of life or shooting injury is a tragedy.
However, the downward trend in gun violence in our community is extremely promising, and owing not only to excellent police work and community involvement in CAPS, but also the efforts of organizations, such as Circles and Ciphers, Family Matters, the Howard Area Community Center and our local parks, who provide our young people with positive alternatives to violence.
The Restorative Justice Program at Sullivan High School, which focuses on emotional learning and conflict resolution rather than punishment, also deserves credit.
Trained police officers who are schooled in de-escalation strategies, appropriate use of force, and awareness of cultural differences are also critical ingredients to safer neighborhoods. The Chicago Police Department currently is overhauling its training for new recruits and plans to retrain veteran officers, as well.
The new police officers in Rogers Park received the benefits of the revamped training protocols, which include instruction in procedural justice, crisis intervention and de-escalation of conflicts, appropriate use of force, community building and critical thinking. The training also includes cultural sensitivity courses at the DuSable museum, where recruits gain in-depth cultural awareness and an understanding of the impact of cultural differences among Chicago’s many diverse communities.
As the City expands its training capacity, all current police officers will be subject to the same training protocols and receive updated “refresher courses” on a regular basis.
Now that they are on the street, the six new officers in Roger Park will receive three months of field training, during which they are paired with experienced Field Training Officers for hands-on guidance during their first months in the field.
I hope you will join me in welcoming these new officers to Rogers Park, as we continue to strive for a safe and violence-free community.