After 2 officers shot in Englewood, organizations express concern over relationship between community, police
CHICAGO (CBS) – There’s a worry after two Chicago Police officers were shot on the South Side within a week. There’s also a growing concern over the relationship between the community and police.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves explains there is a major focus leading into summertime.
“I really wish it wouldn’t have happened anywhere, but I especially wish it wouldn’t have happened in Englewood.”
One thing is top of mind for Darryl Smith with the violence prevention GROUP Englewood Political Task Force — talking to his youth about traffic stops.
“To keep their hands on the steering wheel, to abide to what the police are saying,” he said.
He is worried that after suspects shot two 7th District officers in two traffic stops in one week in West Englewood. The fear is two-fold; nervous officers approaching cars, and anxious people in them.
“We try to assure the residents that all police are not bad. And we try to assure the police that all residents are not bad.”
Relationship building that can come from events like Englewood’s Peace Fest last Saturday.
Pha’Tal Perkins with the organization ‘Think Outside Da Block’ was a part of the initiative.
He sees many “CAPS” or Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy officers come out to engage with residents at events but hopes to see a wider range of officers who patrol the streets attend.
“That way, the relationship is there if they happen to have to encounter a community member. There’s already a relationship that’s built,” Perkins said.
And there is an understanding that not everyone wants to associate with police.
“I’m a little afraid of the tension in the air right now.”
Organizations like Target Area go into neighborhoods like Englewood and take in or mentor high-risk people, but that work is an uphill battle.
When asked if a certain group of people is just not being reached, Target Area Development Corporation Executive Director Joshua Coakley says there are many areas left out.
“There are so many areas of concern that are being left out. High-risk participants are being overlooked or there are not enough service providers or outreach workers who can mentor these guys and lead them in a different direction,” Coakley said.
Multi-pronged missions to help better their neighborhood and vital police/community relationships heading into the summertime.
CBS 2 is reaching out to CPD for an interview with leadership at the 7th District to talk about policing in the area. We have yet to hear back – but will continue to ask.