Public Safety

The Number One responsibility of any government is the protection and safety of its people. Chicago is failing at this job. We have to get back to the basics and address the problem of violence that is destroying our neighborhoods, starting by cracking down on repeat gun offenders, restoring staffing levels to solve crimes and employing an all-hands-on-deck brand of community policing.

 Rebuilding and Restoring Staffing

  • The police department has been severely depleted — costing the department millions of dollars in overtime, money that could be better spent on technical resources and training to help Chicago officers effectively carry out their jobs. City budgeting must prioritize hiring more officers to build a more responsive and accountable CPD.
  • In addition to the severe financial consequences of having an under-staffed police department, without a substantial increase in the number of sworn officers CPD will continue to be unable to effectively serve and protect Chicagoans. Chicago lags the nation in clearance rates for homicides and shootings. All Chicagoans are put at risk by the city’s failure to prioritize investigation of these crimes. Too many cases are languishing because of the manpower shortage. The CPD detective division must be restored to full capacity to ensure violent crime is investigated in a timely manner.
  • To supplement the detective division, the position of “detective emeritus” would be created to allow recently retired detectives to be called back on a case-by-case basis and paid on an hourly basis. This additional pool of detectives would help combat potential staffing shortages

Youth Engagement

  • Law enforcement is but one component of public safety. Positive, effective programs need to be developed for youth in our neighborhoods that focus on underlying causes of crime, including youth unemployment, lack of educational opportunity, and lack of hope. Programs must be developed and resourced to provide summer and part-time public service jobs to help shape the next generation of leaders. To help create a pipeline to success, youth that successfully participate in these city job programs will be given course credit at Chicago City Colleges and state universities, preference for grants and scholarships for higher education, and/or receive credit towards applications for City jobs.
  • Additionally, existing programs that build interaction and engagement between Chicago’s youth and CPD need to be enhanced. I propose new programs such as one-on-one mentoring with CPD officers; increased CPD-Community teams working together at schools, parks, community gardens; sports leagues and tourneys; and other programs that facilitate positive interaction and engagement.

Community Engagement 

  • Building trust between CPD and the various communities in Chicago is vital. To establish more authentic community policing, I propose a Neighborhood Immersion Pilot Program. This pilot program would create teams of sergeants and beat officers that remain on the same beat for a period of 30 months. Having the same team in the same neighborhood for an extended period of time will foster consistency and familiarity that is currently lacking. With this immersion, officers will be better able to gather intelligence for solving crimes. By increasing the clearance rates and establishing a stable presence in these communities, the relationship and trust between officers and the communities they serve will improve.

New Training Facilities

  • Significant funds must be devoted to the needs of our first responder training, but the current proposal for constructing a new police and fire academy completely ignores the fiscal health of the city. The city should wait until it is on more stable financial footing before revisiting the costly construction of a new facility.
  • My proposed plan ensures that public safety, economic development and fiscal responsibility go hand-in-hand. We will repurpose five of the remaining vacant Chicago Public School buildings that were closed in 2013 to house the city’s new fire and police training academies. This plan could save the city more than $100 million and serve as a catalyst for additional investment in the surrounding communities. The schools chosen for this plan were strategically selected because they are located within the boundaries of one of the newly-established Federal Opportunity Zones — a federal program that provides tax incentives to help spur investment in economically-depressed communities. This plan will save the city an additional $400,000 annually in costs currently associated with maintaining the vacant buildings.

Gun Violence

  • Chicago does not have a gun problem; it has a gun EPIDEMIC. And it’s an epidemic that has been stealing innocent lives and destroying Chicago communities for decades. Between 2013 and 2016, Chicago Police seized almost 7,000 illegal guns each year, In 2017 that number jumped to more than 8,600. The amount of illegal guns coming into the city through illegal trafficking from neighboring states continues to exacerbate the problem.
  • Addressing Chicago’s gun epidemic requires a coordinated effort. Every level of government must be brought to the table — federal, state, county and city agencies — to coordinate a response that shares strategic and financial resources and utilizes the best tools available to law enforcement. I would seek more assistance from the federal government and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and work with the ATF on a pilot program focused exclusively on removing guns from our streets.

Pretrial Concerns

  • Protecting our neighborhoods. Under current policy, violent offenders and individuals with multiple felony convictions or bond-related violations are being released in high volumes on “I”-Bonds or placed on electronic monitoring. Without adequate supervision or monitoring, many of these individuals fail to appear for court and return to criminal activity.
  • Monitoring criminal defendants. Many defendants placed on electronic monitoring disable their ankle bracelet, violating their bail conditions, and roam our streets with no accountability or restrictions. While an arrest warrant may be issued, apprehending these defendants has not been made a priority in Chicago and Cook County. Catching these defendant who have violated their bail conditions and are a public danger must be a priority. Let’s get back to the basics and form a Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police task force to locate and apprehend defendants who remove their electronic monitoring bracelet.
  • Safety and well-being of crime victims. Just as victims of crime should be notified when a convicted felon is released from prison, victims have the right to be notified immediately that a criminal defendant has violated conditions of bail and/or escaped from their electronic monitoring ankle bracelets. It is common sense, but it does not occur. The rights of victims of crimes must be given the attention and protections they deserve.