Grandma Skowron: The Community Cop – #70

I remember Grandma Skowron, from the days of being part of a multi-racial neighborhood, where she was the Block Captain.  If she caught you spitting gum on the sidewalk, she would smack you on the side of the listening post and after she informed your father, he would smack you on the side of the listening post again – that’s twice in one day – to this day I never spit gum on the sidewalk again. Yes, we had working Mom’s and all the factors that inner city kids experience, but the one difference missing is Grandma Skowron who is sitting in a trailer in Florida, living in a home of some kind, or just living in a place facing death because Mom’s don’t want the extra work of taking care of the elders let alone their own kids, who they shuffle off to Day Care Centers.  I could go on with a long bunch of gobligook, but I need to get to the content of this Blog – Community Policing.  By the way, Bill Skowron, her grandson, was the First- Baseman for the NY Yankees in their Hay-Day.  While we were Cubs fans, we got a lot of free Tickets to Sox games from Bill and always were rooting for the NY Yankees.

My recent observation of the Chicago policemen revealed that a large portion of our Patrolmen were so heavy that I doubt they could catch anyone they needed to chase. There is a simple solution for the obesity, get Cops out of their squad cars and make them walk the neighborhood.  Get to know the issues first-hand and be a factor in any gang related matters – residents only see the Cops after a crime has been committed.  They want to help, but have no one to turn to. If we attack this divide between police and neighborhoods, and accept help from cities like New York who have an excellent record in reducing gun violence in recent years, we can regain neighborhoods, establish safe and orderly streets and facilities that residents can use.

Our new Mayor should re-instate a mandatory weight reduction program that was in place, but discontinued due to dislike by the officers and a lot of police union pressure. Also, we could apply the Mayor’s leadership in confronting the numerous barriers that our officers face – such as gangs that need to be eliminated.  The Mayor should bring in the National Guard to re-establish the political powerbases (Not Crooks and Dope Dealers) that can then act on the break-up of these gangs and keep them from growing bigger and more powerful in cooperation with local politicians. Elimination of all opioids and other forms of illegal drugs – let’s start enforcing laws already on State and Federal books.  We simply need a strategy and plan to get it going – then do it.

Our efforts reflect no courage, strength or a strategy/plan that is aimed at quantified and measurable date points for getting things done. While we thank NY for all their help, we are only looking at 2 ladies trying to build the community ambassador program with a few (12) people actually doing the work of going door-to-door, introducing officers to residents, inviting officers to block parties and basketball tournaments.  Another very effective strategy has been to organize “Cop Cafes” where officers and residents sit down to talk.  The idea of shifting from a “transactional” to a “community policing” effort will require tons of support above and beyond the test that is taking place only in the CPD’s 25th District.  This approach has been tried before, during the early 1990’s, and was called the CAPS program.  The Brand worked early, but in recent years it has been significantly damaged by neglect, and the national divide between police and residents, arising from the John Burge torture scandal, and the Laquan McDonald police shooting.

The key is that while violence is taking place at an elevated rate in largely low-income black and Latino neighborhood’s, the neighborhoods like Belmont, Cragin and Hermosa should be targeted due to high incidence of gun violence, and where relations between officers and residents have long been fraught.  However, unless we have the commitment of total support, we won’t succeed in this special community effort with only 12 people dedicated to the cause as key performers in their role of “Community Ambassadors. From the new Mayor on down, as well as Federal sources, must act to support, refine and expand as fast as possible.  There should be a target date, for each CPD District to develop their own strategies and “our one-page plan.” BLOG #9 for presentation to the Mayor.  The plan should outline the total support needed, to include reassignment and recruiting of personnel to get the job done effectively.  In addition, the plan needs to address the elimination of opioids and the enforcement of existing laws.

MANAGEMENT LESSON:

DON’T ALLOW PROJECTS TO START UNLESS YOU ARE TOTALLY ON-BOARD IN EVERY AREA OF THE BUSINESS, AND THAT YOU WILL SUPPORT THE FUNCTION ON A CONSISTENT BASIS. BEFORE YOU LAUNCH A PROJECT, MAKE SURE THAT THE ONE PAGE PLAN IS IN PLACE, ENOUGH DATA IS AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE, EASY TO MEASURE AND UNDERSTAND.