Tuesday, November 10, 2015

FACT CHECK: Are Community Policing Meetings Held Less Frequently In Other Neighborhoods?

At last week's community policing (CAPS) meeting for Wrigleyville and Boystown, the local CAPS sergeant announced that, effective immediately, our 19th district is halving the number of times the public will meet with local officers.

Rather than monthly meetings, CAPS Sgt. Jason Clark said, meetings will be held every other month. And the department will no longer field questions about specific crime incidents or manpower.

Clark also claimed that the 19th district was one of the last in the city to hold CAPS meetings on a monthly basis. DNAInfo Chicago had a reporter at the meeting. She heard the same thing:
[Clark] said the Town Hall District — which includes Lakeview and parts of Uptown, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and North Center — was one of the few districts in the city to still host monthly meetings.
So is that true? Is our 19th district one of the last in the city to hold monthly meetings?

Not True

According to the Chicago Police Department's own website, the answer is a resounding…No. The 19th district is not one of the last to hold monthly meetings.

Of the department's 21 districts, twelve had monthly meetings for its residents in 2015.

Eight met bi-monthly and one had monthly meetings for certain areas, but bi-monthly for others.

Most of the districts that hold monthly meetings are south and west. But the 1st district, which includes the Loop, has monthly meetings for residents and monthly meetings for businesses.

The 18th district, covering River North to Lincoln Park has bi-monthly meetings for residents and monthly meetings for the hospitality industry.

It seems logical to us that a neighborhood such as ours—home to a Major League Baseball stadium, a "million person" Pride Parade, three night life districts, 30% fewer cops than four years ago, and with a statistically-proven reputation for being among the worst in the city for street crime—should probably have police/community meetings more often than, say, Sauganash.

That is, if the true purpose of CAPS was to promote community interaction and involvement.

And Shut Up While You're Here

Clark announced another change to his CAPS meetings going forward: The audience will no longer be allowed to ask questions about crimes or express concerns about staffing. Instead, only questions about the sergeant's PowerPoint safety tip presentation will be allowed.

We have reached out to many sources across the city. None knows of any other police district where the residents are forbidden to ask about crime incidents in their neighborhood. But, that's the new policy here, as DNAInfo Chicago's Ariel Cheung reported:
"We want to get away from [neighbors asking], 'What happened this night? What happened here?'" Clark said. "We're not going to discuss issues we have no control over."
Among those taboo topics: district manpower and specific incidents of crime.
"If it's not on our level, if it's not something I can work on, we're not going to discuss it," Clark told neighbors. Still, he said, "we'll answer any questions you have. We're not going to get away from that, but we're going to keep questions to the beat meeting" topic.

End It

As we explained last week, CWB Chicago editors stopped being fans of the CAPS program four years ago. Given the 19th district's latest "improvements," our hope is that the entire program will be shut down and that all CAPS officers will get re-assigned to work patrol cars.

After all, how much Amazon Prime can one person order on company time?

Images: True/False via Forbes; Zipper via Listland
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  1. As soon as the 12th and 13th District merged they went to bi-monthly meetings. The reason given was the greater number of beats to cover. I know because I used to go to CAPS when I lived there. 19 CAPS meetings are a joke compared to the one I went to (beat 1313, then 1221). Great facilitator who ran the meeting, knew all the officers (beat, tact, robbery-burglary, CAPS) and police procedure and didn't let anyone off the hook for issues in the neighborhood. Probably helped that the officers cared about the issues and that the commander (Staples) lived in the beat and came to the meetings.

  2. Oh, it all makes sense. Every every month - that way Tunney won't have to put on clean restaurant pants and clean t-shirt. But, I am "just one person".

    1. According to his letter to Ted R, Tunney had nothing to do with the changes: "The changes in meeting frequency and focus were not discussed with me in advance. It’s my view that CAPS should involve much more than meetings where crime statistics are reviewed. It should be an ongoing effort to improve public safety that involves police and citizens."

  3. Keep Sgt Clark inside where he belongs.Trust people that have observed him attempting to be the Police.You concerned citizens don't want this zero on the streets.

  4. And who pays your salary, I believe it is we, the taxpayers of this city.

  5. FYI .. in case you don't have it in your resource list

    Citizens Police Data Project re police misconduct/complaints


  6. The manpower questions are getting boring. Complain to the Alderman and stop bringing it up over and over again.

    1. You think relevant questions are boring? You should see the powerpoint presentations.

  7. Hey Sargent if you cant stand the heat then get out of the kitchen! If your unwilling or incompetent of answering easy straight forward qurstions, maybe sometimes uncomfortable, from the citizens who pay youre 6 figure $alary and dismiss us like we’re the problem when we are actually the honest law abiding people segment who overwhelmingly support cops ,maybe you should recuse yourself from your role as the community police office sargent . After all no one is forcing you to be there and maybe a certain commander or above needs to step up and make the decision for you with a replacement of someone in charge of the new ridiculous bi-monthly meetings who actually respects the tax paying residents and don’t mind working with us and answering our questions and instead of antagonizing us. The first clue should have been when you ask repeatedly at every meeting -Is There Media In The Room? then your relieved when there isn’t. Maybe cuz someone ain’t doing their job, avoiding exposure and want to collect a government check for not doin’ much

  8. Sgt. Clark is, obviously, afraid to be on the street, so you would think he would try to be a better Caps sergeant. The program doesn't work in the 19th District. Clark hates the meetings, and is openly disrespectful to the citizens and the spirit of the Caps program. Commander, dump him to the horrors of our streets.

  9. I think its obvious that the inside Caps personnel care less and look at our meetings and their Caps positions as a part time job making full time pay and now they wanna cut that in half! Absolutely shocking! Is there a logical reason why they can't even be bothered to wear a proper police uniform the majority of the time. Oh I guess it not comfortable as jeans and a Cubs t-shirt and their Reebok kicks.I know they wanna look all tactical with their undercover raid police jackets that they sport when making their Starbucks runs but c'mon! have some respect for us citizens and the your fellow comrades that wear their police outfits and heavy bullet proof vests and all that duty gear on their belts every damn day.Aren't they cops too or are they civilian?

  10. finally an elephant is in room is being dialogued that every news outlet other than Crime in Wrigleyvilleboystown media don’t touch with a ten foot poll. Love suggestion of reallocation of their resources from them being inside to the patrol cars. Now its hit a breaking point where we are offensively being dismissed in a very discourteous way. We pay massive with a big M property taxes compared to that of the northwest side where most city employees live. Soon even more! i belive a mere 45 minute meeting a month isn’t begging for much where we ‘re heard and express ourselves and when we were asked for active participation since the birth of Caps. From the community police officer running his private security business behind the scenes making pretty private profits from northalsted business alliance, wow, a police captain whose makes suggestions about maybe pitching in with security among other ideas to supplement cops on the street on record http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150904/lakeview/amid-crime-wave-lakeview-police-urge-locals-hire-private-security , wow, a community police officer who is the gay liaison whose elusive as seeing bigfoot in a forest for the past ten years of which no one is aware this liaison position even exists not even all my gay lesbian neighbors in the WLVN group,,whose too inconvenienced to attend 1925 meetings ever because he’s possibly more zealous about attending undergrad classes and post-graduate courses, wow. COngrats on your degrees and accomplishments .I won’t bother question when the classes were attendded,, wow. Final word,wow

  11. A few years ago I got to my front door in Lakeview and saw that there were four police cars in front on my next door neighbor's building. I asked one of the sergeants what was going on. Her response to me was "None of your business, Mr. Nosy Pants". I guess the law abiding, tax paying citizens like mysef are the problem.

  12. CAPS meetings are useless. Just fluff and puff pr.

  13. FYI, I was at the CAPS meeting on Tuesday night and Tunney was nowhere to be found. And of the 25 or so attendees, no one even asked why Tunney was absent nor did the ringleaders of the meeting offer to say why Tunney wasn't in attendance.

    1. I'm the same person as the first comment. Three aldermen each had part of my beat in 13/12 and in five years, I never saw one of them attend and no one ever cared or wondered why because the facilitator worked directly with them or their people. Why is it different in 19?

  14. I'm a cop in your district, manpower is down by over 100 P.O.'s since the merger. THE CAPS office has nothing to do with any of that. As far as taxes being paid, i live north and would love to see as many P.O.'s as you have here, that ain't happening either.