Public Safety2018-06-16T20:04:36+00:00

“The Chicago Police Department must be equipped to effectively address public safety in ALL neighborhoods.”

There is no greater responsibility for City government than ensuring all neighborhoods are safe and secure. All Chicagoans should be able to drive or take public transportation to work, allow their children to walk to local schools or parks, or just simply sit in their yards or on their porches without fear or anxiety over their safety.

With over 3,700 people murdered and over 15,000 shot and wounded since 2012, with citywide vehicular high-jackings up 178% percent, including a 700 percent increase downtown, with CTA crime up 47 percent since 2015 and with a murder clearance rate of only 17 percent and 4% in shootings, Chicago is clearly facing a public safety crisis.

There is no more effective way to combat crime and improve public safety than to have an effective police force in which every neighborhood has enough officers who are familiar with and known to the community and ideally come from the community. These officers also need to be well trained and equipped to respond appropriately to any situation, but also engaged with and accountable to the community.

This is not what we have had in Chicago, and this is why I am running for Mayor.

Learn More About Specific Aspects of the Plan

Accountability is essential for the Chicago Police Department and the community. But real accountability cannot be achieved unless police officers have the numbers, training, equipment and supervision to do their jobs properly.

This has simply not been the case. You can’t have accountability when you have no “beat Integrity” and officers are routinely moved from their home districts to others they are unfamiliar with and whose residents are unfamiliar with them. You can’t have accountability when you do not have appropriate, modern, continuous and redundant training in key areas such as crisis situation de-escalation. You can’t have accountability when you don’t have adequate supervision, through both adequate supervisory personnel and training officers. You can’t have accountability when your officers do not have alternatives to having to use deadly force.

Accountability starts at the very top, and the mayor must set the tone. It is about more than just sound bites. It is about leadership, trustworthiness, and partnership. It’s about making the commitment to ensure that the infrastructure is in place and sustained to ensure that the police officers can serve the community effectively and accountably.

I have laid out a very specific and detailed plan on how to provide the Chicago Police Department with the resources and support it needs to improve public safety in every neighborhood and to ensure effective accountability. This requires that the City, have enough police to guarantee beat integrity in every district. That there be a police officer trained to deal with school-age children in every school and that the CTA have enough officers to patrol stations and the trains.

This means that the five detective areas be permanently restored with a full contingent of 1,200 detectives who are also assisted by up to 400 retired detectives and analysts. It also means there must be sufficient supervisors, including one sergeant for every ten officers. It also means sufficient training officers ideally drawn from the ranks of CPD’s most accomplished officers.

It also requires that every officer be equipped and trained on a Taser and that there be sufficient patrol vehicles and that all officers are provided working vehicle and body cameras.

Ensuring that there be long-term adequacy, stability and continuity in each District staffing, supervision, beat and support will make it easier to ensure effective engagement with the community, block club by block club and directly with community leaders. This is critical to combatting crime and reducing violence.

This also requires that a pipeline be established with schools across Chicago – including public, parochial and private – so as to ensure that the next generation of Officers are reflective and a product of the Community they serve.

Any organization as large as the Chicago Police Department is bound to have some members who improperly keep confidences among themselves. But the real question is how does leadership promote open dialog within the department and what can and should be done to create an operational environment that effectively manages CPD personnel and reduces the potential for violation of the rules.

Reductions in police strength, the absence of effective and redundant training, delays in properly equipping and managing officers have undermined the ability of police to work effectively and with accountability. A Vallas Administration would immediately tackle these failures that begin in the mayor’s office by ensuring that the police have the numbers, the equipment, the training and the supervision to do their jobs and reduce crime.

This is not a finance issue. It is a leadership issue. Funding can be secured by reprioritizing the CPD budget, sharing costs with other City agencies and raising additional funds through the use of “payment in lieu of Taxes” that other cities locally and across the country are employing to raise money from resource-rich tax-exempt institutions to help fund critical city services from which they benefit.

Further, proper funding and equipping of CPD would provide savings to substantially pay for itself. Much of the cost of this could be covered simply by a reduction in overtime (currently ranging from $50 million to $100 million more than when the CPD was last fully staffed) and in lawsuits ($300 million in settlement payouts since 2011, plus $20 million annually in outside legal fees.

Providing CPD with the proper tools will not solve the root causes of crime. That can only be accomplished by ensuring that all Chicagoans in every neighborhood have access to quality schools, employment opportunities, certificated occupational training, which also will be addressed in the course of this upcoming campaign.

But an effective police department that is properly staffed and equipped and is not at odds with the communities it serves or the mayor’s office is also essential to making certain that residents in all communities can look forward to a safe environment – now and in the future.

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