Police Superintendent outlines strategies for stopping violence in Chicago

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After a particularly violent start of the summer, with 69 shootings, six of them homicides, new Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson highlighted strategies for stemming the carnage today at the City Club.

Johnson said he’s trying to build trust and transparency, not only between CPD and the community, but within the police department itself.  He wants cops to know he also has their backs.

“People want to be heard, validated and respected, that’s a big part of CPD moving forward,” Johnson said.

Johnson says the holiday violence can be directly attributed to those who repeatedly cause the most trouble in the city. All of the offenders and most of the victims involved in this weekend’s violence are known to Chicago police and are on a department watch list.  That list is part of a new strategy CPD is using to stop crime from happening.

The Strategic Subject List contains people who, because of their criminal activity, could either be targets or shooters, Johnson said. He said 80 percent of victims of gun violence were on the list, and 100 percent of the offenders.

In fact one of those people involved was out on parole for murder after serving only ten years in prison, not the 40 he was sentenced to.  Johnson says his officers made hundreds of arrests this weekend but it’s hard to tell how many of those arrests deterred violent crimes from happening.

Johnson says for many gang banging is a way of life that starts at birth.

“By the time they’re 12, [their] destiny’s set: prison or death...  Think about for a moment,” Johnson said.

Johnson highlighted several other new initiatives the department is pursuing. After the first of the year, the laws changed in terms of how police make stops of suspicious people. Johnson says there was confusion and therefore reluctance on officers’ part to make that stop.  Now they’ve been retrained and stops are up again.

Additionally, all Chicago police officers have been trained on and are equipped with Tasers and the members in the 14th District have body cams, police in the 15th District will have them next week.

It took years to get this bad, but Supt. Johnson says it could take years to make it better.