My plan is to integrate our officers into the communities. The fact is that City of Chicago has more police officers per resident, than any of the top four largest cities in the county. We need to have officers in the streets, on the trains and in our communities.
All the other candidates, including Mayor Emanuel during his first campaign, have called for more police. However to add more police we would need to raise taxes on the little guy to pay for it, I won't do that. We need to stop the "nickel and dime" tax thinking, it is destructive in the long run.
I say the problem is management. As a businessman
In the past, I've found money in the budget to hire an additional 1,000 officers to help make our streets safer. Reducing the money spent on police overtime and putting it toward hiring new officers is a win for everyone – our current forces will get much needed relief and we'll be able to afford it.
With more police officers per capita than any other major city, my focus has been on transforming the police department, moving cops from behind their desks to the streets, significantly expanding prevention programs and cracking down on illegal guns. Despite the fact that we are experiencing the fewest murders than any year since 1965, and the lowest crime rate in decades, the measure of our success is whether a parent feels comfortable letting their child be outside. Until every parent in every community shares that same sense of security, we have more work to do. That is why I implemented a comprehensive crime reduction approach when I took office, incorporating the voices of law enforcement, community leaders and clergy to address the role of policing, prevention and the community in our common mission to reduce violence.
The Chicago Police Department has seen a dramatic change at all levels. At the top there is new leadership held accountable through CompStat, and among the ranks there are more than 1,100 new recruits adding new energy to the department for the first time in a decade. We have moved officers from behind desks to behind the wheel of a squad car – or the handlebars of a bike. At the same time, we are utilizing those resources more efficiently through intelligence-based policing. Operation Impact, which adds hundreds of officers on foot patrol in 20 areas that account for 3% of the city’s population but 20% of its crime, has led to a dramatic decline in violence in those areas where officers are more visible and able to interact with community members. Through the Two Degrees of Association program, CPD has identified 500 individuals at highest risk of violence and has reached out to many of them to offer connections to services. In 2014, we formed a multi-agency task force on domestic violence and are piloting a program to help identify households at serious risk of injury or fatality. CPD has also shifted its focus away from low-level and non-violent drug crimes and towards preventing and stopping violent crime. As part of that strategy, the Mayor worked with City Council to pass a city law permitting civil citations for possession of small amounts of cannabis. That law has resulted in a nearly 40% decrease in arrests for small amounts of cannabis possession for the first half of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2012.
The strategy is not just about locking more people in jail, which has significant long-term costs to the City and County. In fact, citywide arrests for all crimes have declined by 11% while overall crime has declined by 27% and clearance rates have improved by 18% -- proving it is possible to reduce crime while arresting fewer people and fostering better cooperation with the communities we serve.
Developing higher levels of trust between communities and police has been a major priority for this administration. CPD created and implemented training for police officers to teach fairness and respect – also called “procedural justice.” To date, more than 9,500 Chicago police personnel have completed this training. When police misconduct does occur, we are committed to responding swiftly and fairly and providing a new level of transparency about the process. Over the last 18 months, the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates all serious police misconduct, has reduced its case backlog by 51% by streamlining its intake procedures, expanding the use of mediation, and holding personnel accountable for timely investigations. And, in a reversal of past practice, the City recently announced that it will make internal investigation files into alleged police misconduct open to public scrutiny.
While the Chicago Police Department plays a critical role in reducing crime in Chicago, we know cannot arrest our way out of the problem. Chicago’s holistic, public health approach to violence reduction includes investments in prevention and intervention programs to help treat the root causes of violence, including poverty, trauma and disparities in education and workforce skills. Key prevention investments include, but are not limited to, universal Pre-K for families in poverty, an increase from 14,000 to 22,500 summer jobs through One Summer Chicago Plus, teen dating violence prevention, 150 refurbished basketball courts, 175 playground improvements, and 750 Night out in the Parks events. Intervention programs, which are designed to reach youth at higher risk of violence, include One Summer Chicago Plus, a summer jobs program specifically designed for justice-involved youth. Participants in the program were 43% less likely to be arrested for a crime than their peers – results that last for more than a year after the program ended, according to research published in Science Magazine. Other intervention efforts include replacing zero-tolerance school discipline with restorative practices, resulting in over 30% declines in out-of-school suspensions, referrals for expulsions and arrests of students.
To strengthen and build on the City’s public health approach to violence prevention, earlier this year we formed the Mayor’s Commission for a Safer Chicago. The Commission brings together over 130 City staff, community and faith leaders, practitioners, parents and youth to update the City’s plan to address violence. United in a belief that violence is preventable and not inevitable, the Mayor’s Commission for a Safer Chicago represents a new way of doing business: a model of shared vision, shared action and shared responsibility. In December 2014, the Commission will publish recommendations in youth employment, health, restorative practices in schools, safety and justice, and safe places and activities.
To immediately reduce the number of violent crimes, I would declare a State
of Emergency. I would institute a series of specific actions to quickly alleviate
the root causes of increased crime and violence, and thereby reduce the
unacceptable level of danger.
Pursuant to that meaningful declaration, as Mayor I would direct the
Superintendent of Police to Conduct high visibility Outdoor Roll Calls in and
around high crime areas: Conduct Outdoor Police Academy Recruit Training
sessions in and around high crime areas: Stop all police Parking Ticket
writing activities: Limit Police Traffic Court appearances to those involving
personal injury, auto damage, DUI, drugs or weapons: Station police cars
near parks, schools and libraries until they are dispatched to respond to
calls, upon completion of that call, they will return to their assigned spot;
Implement flex districts which would allow beat officers from low risk beats
(relatively safe beats) to provide support in high risk beats; Replace the vast
majority of sworn officers presently assigned to office and desk duty with
civilians and reassign those officers to street beat patrol (foot, bike, and
Police officers will be outfitted with Body Cams which will be synchronized
with Dashboard cams. To reduce police overtime, Police Department clerks
will review footage and document police encounters and arrests. The involved
officer(s) will sign off on the clerk generated police reports.
Violent crime is a staggering problem throughout the entire city. As Mayor, I will keep the promise that Rahm Emanuel broke by putting 1,000 additional police officers on the streets, but I would make sure these new officers are adequately trained to truly serve and protect. The existing police force is not only insufficiently oriented, but also insufficiently staffed to effect true community policing. Significant overtime currently is unavoidable, which reduces the effectiveness of current officers. With the 265 current patrol vacancies and the 580 vacancies in Sergeants, Lieutenants, and Detectives reported by the Police Superintendent, the Department will remain understaffed for the foreseeable future unless we act to correct this problem.
However, we need to take a multi-faceted approach that addresses the root causes of violence by addressing the employment needs in our neighborhoods. As a recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab demonstrated, a public summer jobs program for high school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Chicago reduced violent crime arrests by 43 percent over a 16-month period. Sadly, that same report found youth employment in the summer months is near a 60-year low.
There must also be a long-term and on-going commitment to Community Policing. True community policing remains a proven and effective way to both solve crimes and actually to prevent it. It constitutes a genuine partnership with a neighborhood based on trust built over time between long-term beat officers and neighborhoods they serve. It takes training and commitment.
Here in Chicago we have tried many approaches and run through numerous police chiefs without solving major problems—and in some cases exacerbating them. I know community policing works, because I have witnessed firsthand the difference it has made in my own neighborhood of Little Village. There, the community group I founded, “Enlace Chicago,” has partnered with the Chicago Police Department and North Lawndale Employment Network to reduce youth violence and to improve community-police relations.