Friday, May 02, 2014

TAKE TAKE TAKE: With Two Cops Hurt, Service Organization Refused To Provide Video, Officers Say

Is help a one-way street?
Two police officers were injured yesterday as they tried to take a violent offender into custody outside of the former Diplomat Hotel at Belmont and Sheffield. The facility, which recently underwent a $13 million tax payer-subsidized renovation, is now run as affordable housing by Thresholds.

According to some cops, Thresholds refused to provide surveillance footage of the incident to police officers who were on-scene.

We wrote an email to Thresholds' CEO Mark Ishaug this morning seeking his input. We have received no reply. We later emailed Thresholds' public relations office to reiterate our desire for their input. Still no reply.

Of note: At a recent fundraiser for Alderman Tom Tunney, the alderman was introduced to the crowd by Mark Ishaug.

Our email to Ishaug, which was also included with our submission to the agency's PR office, follows:
Date: Fri, May 2, 2014 at 8:34 AM
To: Mark Ishaug
Cc: Tom Tunney, Bennett Lawson
Mr. Ishaug...
My partners and I publish an online site that aims to raise awareness of certain crime and policing issues in Wrigleyville and Boystown. Two points of conversation are the 27% reduction in the 19th district's police force and service agencies' support or lack of support for police efforts.
We are preparing a story for publication today that you are welcome to have a voice in.
Yesterday at about noontime, two police officers were injured while trying to take a violent offender into custody outside of Thresholds' facility in the rehabbed Diplomat Hotel. 
That offender also has a recent history of trying to disarm a police officer.
After the offender was secured, police officers determined that the Thresholds' facility possessed surveillance video footage of the incident but Thresholds' staff repeatedly refused to provide the footage to the officers. The officers, two of whom were injured in the process of detaining an apparent Thresholds client who had reportedly injured a third person, left empty handed.
Can you tell us about this incident? 
Has Thresholds provided the video to the police department? 
What is Thresholds policy regarding co-operation with police officers who are performing their sworn duties?
It is worth noting that less than four hours after the previous incident, the staff at another Thresholds facility around the corner called 911 for help when a woman with apparent psychiatric issues threatened the staff. 
Both the "Diplomat" and the other Thresholds location on Belmont call for police assistance with regularity. In most cases, the police are sent on their way after situations are neutralized with charges being rare.
It is disappointing to learn that the staff of these two facilities apparently don't feel that a relationship with the police department is a two-way street.
We believe that service agencies play a very important role in Lake View and we are pleased to see that some of the agencies have adopted policies that are more supportive of law enforcement. Other agencies continue to be unhelpful, even when the need for cooperation is plainly apparent.
Can you tell us where Thresholds stands?
Thank you,
[Signed]
UPDATE: Surprise!  Fifteen minutes after our post, Thresholds' PR office sent us an email. To be clear, Thresholds' staff was said to have "refused" to provide their video to officers on scene yesterday, not that they had to consult with IT.
Thresholds values our relationship with the Chicago Police Department and Chicago’s Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS). In fact, Thresholds has partnered with CPD in the past to develop training for its Crisis Intervention Team officers. We could not do our work without support from the Chicago Police Department, and we work with them often on matters involving the safety of our communities and those we serve.  
However, your assertion that Thresholds refused to provide video surveillance of yesterday’s incident to the Chicago Police Department today is not accurate. Thresholds’ video surveillance equipment at Fred and Pamela Buffett Place is digital, and in order to obtain a file, our staff need to request it from both the vendor and our Information Services staff. We were happy to provide the video, but for these reasons could not produce a file immediately. We delivered the footage to the 19th police district office today, as soon as it was available. 
If you would like additional details about this incident, please reach out to the Chicago Police Department’s media affairs office.  
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