By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is asking community members for their input on what community engagement from officers should look like as it tries to build trust between communities and police officers throughout the city.
On March 12, the 2nd Police District officials met with community members at XS Tennis Village, 5336 S. State St., to help create a community policing strategic plan.
One of the evening’s hosts, police officer Denise Gathings, said that Superintendent Eddie Johnson planned to host strategic planning meetings throughout the city after listening to community feedback.
“The police always tell citizens ‘well we’re going to do this and you’re going to do that.’ After listening to all of the communities throughout the city of Chicago, the superintendent and other officials from the city came up with a plan to have conversations throughout the 22 police districts,” Gathings explained.
Police officers, who were not in uniform, facilitated conversations between community members and took notes. Community members were asked about their ideas on ways to reduce crime in their neighborhood and how police officers can engage communities.
“Some people said that police need to get out of the car and talk to people,” Gathings heard from community members on Tuesday night.
“They want police and community walking and talking, that way you can kind of narrow down the crime because now you have businesses, faith-based [organizations], and police working together.”
After curating consistent themes in citizen’s responses, the police district will create a strategic plan and ask community members to weigh in at another meeting. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 26, at 6 p.m at XS Tennis Village.