By TONIA HILL
Kenton W. Rainey, the newest addition to the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD), met with members of the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC) during their monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept., 7.
Rainey was named as Police Chief in June replacing Fountain Walker, the former police chief who served in the role since August 2015. Walker is now the assistant vice president at New York University (NYU).
“I follow articles online the reputation that the city is getting…with all the violence it tugs at me,” Rainey said. “I answered the call. I wanted to come back and contribute whatever I can to address some of the things going on in the city.”
Thursday’s meeting at Treasure Island was one of many community meetings that Rainey has attended as an introduction to the neighborhood.
After a brief introduction members of HPKCC asked Rainey questions about his adjustment to the job, challenges he may face and also wondered how the department can address crime in the neighborhood.
Last year’s “Halloween Purge” resulted in multiple arrests, damaged vehicles, and mobs of young people taking over the streets of Hyde Park.
Teens outside of the neighborhood organized the purge using social media.
According to the Chicago Police Department, 10 juvenile arrests were made including three for disorderly conduct, four females for reckless conduct, other arrests for trespassing, theft and aggravated battery to a police officer.
“After it [the Halloween Purge] happened there was a lot of concern about what we can do to give teenagers better options than going to 53rd Street and creating trouble,” said George Rumsey president of HPKCC.
Rainey said the department monitors social media.
“If you see something or hear something like that, please let us know,” Rainey said.
Rainey also said he wants to bring the department closer to the community.
He said UCPD would host meetings similar to the Chicago Police Department’s Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) or beat meetings.
UCPD participates in CAPS meetings alongside the CPD that are held once a month in police districts across the city.
“We will continue to participate in the CAPS meetings. Our primary mission is to the campus, and we want to reach out to our campus stakeholders who work and utilize the medical center,” Rainey said. “We need to make sure that they’re on board with where we’re trying to go and what we’re trying to do.”
He added that UCPD would continue to attend other meetings within the community as well.
Before joining UCPD he served as the chief of police for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police Department until his retirement at the end of last year.
He mentioned at the meeting that he became chief of BART following the death of Oscar Grant. A BART Police officer fatally shot Grant at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland on New Years Day 2009.
Before that he served as police chief in police departments in Fairfield, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas. He also has served in leadership for law enforcement agencies in California and Ohio.
Rainey is originally from Chicago. He grew up near Dunbar High School, 3000 S. King Drive, and attended De La Salle Institute, 3434 S. Michigan Ave., before his family moved to California in the late 1970s.
He graduated from California State, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and received a master’s degree in organizational management.
He will oversee the department’s 100 members of the full-service, professionally accredited police department and serve as representative on campus and in surrounding communities. He will also direct policing initiatives and develop crime prevention strategies and implement community policing programs.
In other UCPD related news, the department was re-accredited with Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation recognition by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
UCPD is the only private university police department in the Midwest that is CALEA accredited. UCPD was granted accreditation for the first time in 2014.
CALEA assessors visited the UCPD in April to conduct an on-site assessment of the police department. The evaluators surveyed all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management operations, and support services.
The on-site assessment is a part of the voluntary process that is required to be accredited with CALEA that recognizes excellence in law enforcement.
Accreditation lasts four years. UCPD will submit annual reports and documentation to show compliance with standards.
The UCPD consists of 100 officers whose patrol area boundaries are on and around the U. of C. campus as well as extended patrols as far north as 37th Street, 65th Street south, Lake Shore Drive east, and Cottage Grove Avenue west.