CHICAGO – Chicago Supt. David Brown returned to the West Side community on Thursday, with officers in tow, to meet with residents in West Garfield Park as part of a department plea for change and assistance.
The police walkabout is part of a bigger community relations campaign to reach Chicagoans where they live and work on a different level – one of partners and not adversaries.
On the city’s westside, the CPD command staff led by Supt. David Brown and accompanied by Ald. Jason Earvan (28th Ward) began their march on Madison Street.
“I think it’s appreciated,” Tiffany Steen said, who, along with her husband, are the proud owners of Levelz Style Lounge, which they describe as a boutique in the front and hair salon in the back. The couple opened just seven months ago amidst a pandemic.
“This is where I’m from,” Steen said. “This is where I’m from and this is what we deserve.”
Brown’s message, he says, is part of a bigger effort to break down barriers.
“We care about the crimes, the shootings, the homicides. We care about these families that are left behind. There’s people grieving, hurting, in pain. We want to show we care about being present. We are here in the community. We’re not in our offices. Were not reading reports or looking at statistics,” Brown said.
While distrust of police may not disappear overnight, Steen said she felt the community walk was a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s appreciated by the community,” Steen said. “I think it’s appreciated by the business owners as well.”
The cop/community walkabout follows the city’s opening of the Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC). The center will use a holistic approach to reduce crime through staff, resources and money to engage residents and organizations. The center will also staff people from mental health and healthcare organizations, youth services and violence reduction nonprofits and so much more.
The walk, however, came moments after the accidental shooting death of a 4-year-old girl in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
“It was an accident. A visiting relative brought a gun to visit in a bag. One of the young kids were playing with the guns and accidentally shot one of the kids,” Brown said.
The superintendent once again pointed to the re-release of violent offenders who possess firearms and urged the confiscation of guns off city streets.