SUI­CIDE SHAKES CPD

Newly pro­moted deputy chief ap­par­ently fa­tally shoots self at po­lice fa­cil­ity

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRANK MAIN, MANNY RAMOS, MITCH DUDEK AND SAM CHARLES Manny Ramos is a corps mem­ber in Re­port for Amer­ica, a not-for-profit journalism pro­gram that aims to bol­ster Sun-Times cov­er­age of Chicago’s South and West sides.

A newly pro­moted Chicago po­lice deputy chief was found dead Tues­day morn­ing of an ap­par­ent self-in­flicted gun­shot wound in the Ho­man Square po­lice fa­cil­ity on the West Side.

The death of Dion Boyd, 57, was an­nounced at Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment head­quar­ters Tues­day af­ter­noon by Supt. David Brown.

Brown, flanked by other mem­bers of the CPD’s lead­er­ship, said Boyd was “a re­spected com­mand staff mem­ber.”

He was with the depart­ment for nearly 30 years.

“There’s re­ally no way to con­vey or ex­press the mag­ni­tude of this loss,” Brown said. “We are shocked and sad­dened at the loss that is deeply felt by me and the many col­leagues and friends with whom Deputy Chief Boyd worked and men­tored through­out his ca­reer.”

Brown pleaded with of­fi­cers to “al­ways re­mem­ber to take care of our­selves and each other.”

“There is no shame in reach­ing out for help,” he added. “Please, of­fi­cers, please, stay hum­ble, stay hu­man, stay safe and stay well.”

Boyd was found dead in his of­fice Tues­day morn­ing, a source said. It was un­clear when he was shot.

He’d been sworn in as deputy chief of crim­i­nal net­works on July 15 in a se­ries of lead­er­ship changes by Brown. The unit does in­ves­ti­ga­tions into gangs and drug traf­fick­ing.

Boyd was pre­vi­ously the Area One com­man­der on the South Side and com­man­der of the Wentworth Dis­trict. His ca­reer in­cluded ex­pe­ri­ence as a tac­ti­cal of­fi­cer, un­der­cover of­fi­cer in nar­cotics, homi­cide de­tec­tive and in­ter­nal af­fairs of­fi­cer.

Po­lice sources who’ve met with

Boyd re­cently to dis­cuss in­ves­ti­ga­tions said he was in­ter­ested and up­beat.

Those who knew Boyd said he strug­gled with the death of Sa­muel Jimenez, one of his of­fi­cers in the Wentworth Dis­trict, who was killed by a gun­man at Mercy Hos­pi­tal and

Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bronzevill­e in

2018.

Dono­van Price, a cri­sis re­spon­der and fre­quent pres­ence at shoot­ing scenes across the city, said he got to know Boyd after the Mercy shoot­ing.

Price said Boyd was even-keeled but “al­ways had a per­ma­nent pleas­ant de­meanor.” He took pride in his work and “you could see his mind work­ing on what could pos­si­bly be built from what was go­ing on,” Price said.

It’s not un­prece­dented for Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers to take their lives while on the job. One par­tic­u­larly bad year was 2018 when Chicago Po­lice Of­fi­cer Brandon Krueger fa­tally shot him­self in the head at a Far South Side po­lice sta­tion. Also that year, Sgt. Steven Bechina of the depart­ment’s Mass Tran­sit Unit fa­tally shot him­self while on duty in the West Loop.

Sui­cides have been a con­tin­u­ing prob­lem for the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment for years. In 2017, the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment re­ported that the city’s sui­cide rate among of­fi­cers was 60% higher than the av­er­age of 18.1 of­fi­cers per 100,000 na­tion­ally. The re­port rec­om­mended im­prove­ments in men­tal health coun­sel­ing avail­able to of­fi­cers.

Boyd’s body was taken from Ho­man Square by am­bu­lance in a pro­ces­sion that in­cluded a fleet of other Chicago po­lice ve­hi­cles. It headed to the Cook County med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice, where dozens of other of­fi­cers had con­verged in a show of re­spect. A gi­ant Amer­i­can flag hung be­tween the par­tially raised ladders of two fire en­gines.

Mayor Lori Light­foot of­fered her con­do­lences Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“We are truly at a loss of words by the death of Deputy Chief of Crim­i­nal Net­works Dion Boyd,” the mayor wrote on Twit­ter.

“This dev­as­tat­ing loss will not only be felt at ev­ery level of this depart­ment, but in the count­less com­mu­ni­ties and homes Deputy Chief Boyd touched dur­ing his decades­long ser­vice to our city,” Light­foot wrote.

“To ev­ery of­fi­cer, we want you to know that you are de­serv­ing of help and heal­ing, and no one needs to strug­gle alone.”

She urged any of­fi­cer “who is suf­fer­ing and feels they have nowhere to turn” to reach out to the depart­ment’s chap­lains or em­ployee as­sis­tance pro­gram if needed.

Mayor Lori Light­foot has a $50 mil­lion plan to pro­vide free high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice to 100,000 Chicago Public School stu­dents, cour­tesy of Illi­nois’ rich­est man and some of Chicago’s big­gest phi­lan­thropies.

But the four-year time frame is too long to wait for some of the mayor’s clos­est City Coun­cil al­lies. They’re tak­ing mat­ters into their own hands to fa­cil­i­tate the CPS shift to a mix of re­mote and in-class­room learn­ing this fall.

Led by Ald. Gil­bert Vil­le­gas (36th), the mayor’s City Coun­cil floor leader, they held a news con­fer­ence Tues­day at Rein­berg Ele­men­tary School in Portage Park to show­case “wire­less, trench­less, so­lar-pow­ered routers” in­stalled on Chicago Park Dis­trict and CPS build­ings. The 3-by-3-foot routers the size of a win­dow pro­vide “tem­po­rary Wi-Fi” with no trench­ing or ca­ble in­stal­la­tion re­quired.

Vil­le­gas was joined by Ald. Michael Scott Jr., Light­foot’s Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee chair­man, and by may­oral ally Gre­gory Mitchell (7th). All three, as well as Ald. Wal­ter Bur­nett Jr. (27th), have sim­i­lar de­vices be­ing in­stalled in their wards do­nated for the next six months by Ignite Cities, Mesh++ and Ver­i­zon.

Vil­le­gas pointed to the dif­fi­cult tran­si­tion to re­mote learn­ing when 100,000 Chicago stu­dents still lack reliable high-speed in­ter­net ac­cess.

“Given that so many com­mu­ni­ties are not con­nected, it was a dis­as­ter. We need to do a bet­ter job. I know the city is work­ing to get ‘Chicago Con­nected’ up and run­ning. But this here is just a sim­ple tool that gives some im­me­di­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to some com­mu­ni­ties,” Vil­le­gas said.

“Some­times, gov­ern­ment gets in the way. … We need to let the tech­nol­ogy firms do what they do best. What we need to tell them is, ‘We have an is­sue. How would you re­solve this?’ in­stead of us say­ing, ‘We have an is­sue and this is how we want you to re­solve this.’”

With only a few dozen so­lar routers be­ing in­stalled, the six-month pi­lot will barely make a dent in the dig­i­tal di­vide.

But Scott said the $1,500 de­vices at newly re­named Dou­glass Park in his West Side ward are worth a try.

“There is no line that runs into the park or right around there. The school in the park can­not get a wire­less con­nec­tion. It costs an ex­or­bi­tant amount of money to trench Com­cast,” Scott said.

“What this does is take a sig­nal that al­ready ex­ists and am­pli­fies that sig­nal so that folks who don’t have in­ter­net or have a weak sig­nal have a bet­ter sig­nal.”

ASHLEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES Of­fi­cers sa­lute out­side the Cook County med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice as the am­bu­lance car­ry­ing the body of CPD Deputy Chief Dion Boyd passes.

Dion Boyd

ASHLEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES FILE PHOTO

Newly pro­moted CPD Deputy Chief of Crim­i­nal Net­works Dion Boyd (right) is sworn in dur­ing a cer­e­mony at CPD head­quar­ters by re­tir­ing First Deputy Supt. An­thony Ric­cio on July 15. Boyd died Tues­day of an ap­par­ent sui­cide.

ASHLEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES

Of­fi­cers lining the street out­side the Cook County med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice sa­lute as the am­bu­lance car­ry­ing the body of Dion Boyd passes.

PAT NABONG/SUN-TIMES

Po­lice Supt. David Brown an­nounces the death of Deputy Chief Dion Boyd at a news con­fer­ence Tues­day.

PAT NABONG/SUN-TIMES PHO­TOS

A de­vice that en­ables peo­ple to con­nect to the in­ter­net is mounted to a pole at Peter A. Rein­berg Ele­men­tary on Tues­day.

Ald. Gil­bert Vil­le­gas

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