More than 50 local men and women---about 10 or 15 more than usually attend---gave a strong round of applause Wednesday evening for Commander David R. McNaughton, as well as other CPD in attendance.
McNaughton offered no new information on the shooting and said police are working diligently on it. He predicted with confidence---as CPD Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy did on Monday---that the shooter will be caught and brought to justice.
In response to a man in the audience who chided politicians by saying "They got money for everything but don't hire enough police" and claimed that CPD "is three thousand short" on staff, McNaughton said that like any police commander, he welcomes more resources. Perhaps anticipating that the criticism would be linked to Monday's shooting, McNaughton noted "There were three (CPD) cars within a thousand feet when it occurred."
McNaughton added that the Eighth District is one of just six in the city designated as a place where new police are trained---saying that helps add resources locally.
|Commander David R. McNaughton|
In response to a pointed question about how many police officers are on patrol at any given moment in Beat 812, McNaughton declined to give an exact number or even a range of numbers---saying that it depends on a number of factors, including time of day, day of the week and more.
Regarding the future of the CAPS program (rumored to be viewed with skepticism by the Emanuel Administration), McNaughton stated that the administration does not necessarily appear to be scrapping CAPS; but rather to change it from a cookie-cutter approach to one that would encourage more localized innovation and cross-district sharing of successful strategies.
"We're not going to have to implement a strategy that may work in Rogers Park, but not in the Eighth District," he said.
He added that the Eighth District CAPS program will most likely remain as is. "Sergeant (Allen) Cain (head of the program) does a fantastic job, and hopefully he'll stay right there." His endorsement of Cain and his staff was echoed by the immediate and strong applause of the audience.
McNaughton praised the consistently strong turnout at Beat 812 meetings, calling the group a model for others and noting that a recent CAPS meeting of two beats (831 and 832) on the east end of the district drew just five people.
In other meeting highlights:
** Cain said that his analysis of crime data shows that burglary in Beat 812 is down nearly a third over last year; and that 38 percent of burglaries in the beat are classified as "unlawful entry"---meaning that there was no sign of forced entry, implying that perhaps homeowners are to blame for leaving doors and windows unlocked.
** Eighth District Court Advocacy Subcommittee Chair Barbara Ziegler gave an update on several local cases in criminal court, including one where a man charged with criminal damage to property (defacing signs at Wentworth Park) walked away free because no one from the Chicago Park District showed up in court. "We called them and left messages; but they did not return our calls. We even offered to pick them up and take them to court (at 51st and Wentworth), which we always do. But because they were not there, because this apparently wasn't important enough to them, the case was SOL'ed (dismissed)." The Southwest Chicago Post has contacted the Chicago Park District for a response and will share it when it is received. Update on 12/17/12: a spokeswoman for the Chicago Park District investigated and gave us this response: "I am told that the voice mail was left on the Wentworth Park phone at approximately 5 pm the evening prior to the court date. The Park Supervisor was out of the office at the time of the message. He did not retrieve the message until the morning of the court appearance, and therefore unable to make arrangements for a representative to appear in court." In response to that, Ziegler said that she called Wentworth Park "three times over the course of three days" and that Wentworth Park was contacted in writing by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office (with a customary notification) regarding the case.
** Clearing Night Force neighborhood watch President Judy Ollry recognized and thanked the 10 or so CNF members in the audience and noted that the group will not patrol in January and February---focusing instead on marketing and membership recruitment. She noted that the CNF just marked its 16th anniversary of service.
The next CAPS meeting for Beat 812 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 9 at St. Symphorosa School. All local residents are encouraged to attend. For more details, phone the Eighth District CAPS Office at 312-747-8724.
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