CPD sum­mer mo­bile pa­trol unit to get more of­fi­cers, par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity ser­vice projects

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MITCH DUDEK, STAFF RE­PORTER mdudek@sun­times.com | @mitch­dudek

The Chicago Po­lice De­part­ment’s sum­mer mo­bile pa­trol unit will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­nity ser­vice projects once a week in an ef­fort to build trust in the com­mu­ni­ties where it works — largely on the South and West sides.

The unit, which be­gan be­ing de­ployed to crime “hot spots” across the city May 21, also will re­ceive an ad­di­tional 66 of­fi­cers in the next few days, boost­ing its ranks to more than 200, Supt. David Brown an­nounced Fri­day at a news con­fer­ence in Wood­lawn, where of­fi­cers gath­ered to par­tic­i­pate in a neigh­bor­hood cleanup.

“When an area looks good, the res­i­dents feel good about them­selves and their neigh­bor­hood, and that makes a com­mu­nity safer,” Brown said.

Prayer cir­cles, peace marches and de­liv­er­ing food and face masks to se­niors are ex­am­ples of other weekly com­mu­nity en­gage­ment ef­forts the of­fi­cers will par­tic­i­pate in.

“Th­ese of­fi­cers can be de­ployed any­where in the city at a mo­ment’s no­tice; how­ever, this is not a rov­ing strike force. Let me re­peat that. This is not a rov­ing strike force. Th­ese of­fi­cers are called upon by the district com­man­ders through­out the city, and they are here to sup­ple­ment lo­cal ef­forts to keep peo­ple safe and save lives,” Brown said.

The sum­mer mo­bile pa­trol unit is sim­i­lar to but sep­a­rate from a city­wide vi­o­lent crime unit an­nounced this week af­ter three con­sec­u­tive week­ends with at least 65 peo­ple shot and mul­ti­ple chil­dren killed.

“This sum­mer will serve as a build­ing struc­ture for the de­part­ment as we cre­ate a spe­cial­ized city­wide unit to tackle vi­o­lent crime and cre­ate com­mu­nity part­ner­ships in some of Chicago’s most chal­leng­ing ar­eas,” Brown said.

The po­lice de­part­ment also an­nounced Fri­day the cre­ation of a new po­si­tion within its ranks to im­prove ac­cess for peo­ple with lim­ited English pro­fi­ciency.

The new job of “lan­guage ac­cess co­or­di­na­tor” was cre­ated to “en­sure mean­ing­ful ac­cess to CPD pro­grams and ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als with lim­ited abil­ity to speak, read or write in English,” ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease is­sued Fri­day.

The role is be­ing filled by Rox­ana Cortes, who pre­vi­ously served with Chicago Pub­lic Schools as a trans­la­tion spe­cial­ist.

Part of her job will be im­ple­ment­ing an accreditat­ion sys­tem to en­sure the lan­guage skills of mul­ti­lin­gual of­fi­cers. More than 1,200 of­fi­cers have self-iden­ti­fied as pos­sess­ing some level of pro­fi­ciency in lan­guages rang­ing from Span­ish to Ro­ma­nian.

The job is part of the po­lice de­part­ment’s ef­fort to come into com­pli­ance with re­forms re­quired by the fed­eral con­sent de­cree.

PAT NABONG/SUN-TIMES City work­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers take part in a cleanup Fri­day in the Wood­lawn neigh­bor­hood.

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