By LINDSAY WELBERS
Ald. Will Burns (4th) and 2nd District Lieutenant Mark Moor assured residents at the 4th Ward Meeting on Monday, Nov. 19, that the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, better known as the CAPS program, will remain in place after the new year despite having its budget eliminated in 2013.
“At the Chicago Police Department we have a central CAPS office downtown and we have people who head to all the different districts within the city. What the mayor wants to do is to get rid of that central home for CAPS and put it in all of the districts. So the personnel that are assigned to CAPS central headquarters are coming out to bolster the CAPS officers that are assigned to the districts,” Moor said in response to a question asked at the public forum.
Under the 2012 budget CAPS had $3.5 million to spend on the program that brings community members into direct contact with beat cops where they live. Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget, which passed City Council with only three no votes earlier this month, that budget has been reduced to zero.
“What they’re doing is making the commanders of the districts accountable for the CAPS programs in their community,” Alderman Will Burns (4th) said. “What you do is, instead of a citywide approach in terms of the center, you allow the commanders working with the community policing folks to figure out strategies that make sense in each district, and each district has different issues within the city.”
CAPS director Ron Holt previously told the Herald that the program will not change at all and the fact that there is no committed budget should not affect the way the program has worked in the past.
Moor said that CAPS beat meetings will resume in January, after all the ones in December had been cancelled.
“Christmastime we have a lot more crime coming up so we try to put more boots on the street,” Moor said.