Monday, October 17, 2016

Ready for Cub Fans, Pontecore Says

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

If the Chicago Cubs defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers this week and win the National League pennant—the team’s first since 1945—Chicago Lawn (8th) District police are ready for what will most likely be over-the-top celebrations, even in White Sox country on the Southwest Side, Commander Ronald Pontecore said Monday night.

Commander Pontecore and GRNW President Al Cacciottolo
The district’s top cop made brief mention of the readiness at Monday’s public meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, held at St. Jane Parish’s Ward Hall. About 50 people attended.

Born and raised on the Southwest Side, Pontecore described himself as “a committed White Sox fan” as he first joked that his real public safety concern was rowdy White Sox fans partying in the streets if the Cubs collapsed in the playoffs—which brought laughter from the mostly partisan crowd.

On a serious note, Pontecore said CPD does “have a plan” to address crowd control and protect people and property, although he did not discuss specifics other than to note that he has “sent letters to the establishments—the bars, the liquor stores, carryout services--about not serving [beer] in bottles, serving it [instead] in plastic cups, making sure that they keep their [customers] in line and don’t let them go crazy in the streets.”

The CPD drill is expected to be much the same as it has
Blackhawks revelers on Archer in 2015.
been during the spontaneous street celebrations that broke out after the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup championship celebrations in this decade—most recently in June 2015. While crowds were loud and jubilant on Archer Avenue and elsewhere in the district, a strong police presence helped ensure safe celebrations with near-zero property damage or arrests.

Commander John Kupczyk
On other topics, Pontecore repeated what he said last month—that he is firmly committed to maintaining the “beat integrity” system put in place years ago by Commander John Kupczyk. The mere mention of Kupczyk on Monday drew applause from the crowd, nearly five years after the popular commander died suddenly.

“John Kupczyk was a friend of mine,” Pontecore said. “He was a great police officer, and I am committed to the same ethic here in the Eight District as he was.

“I believe strongly in beat integrity,” he continued. “You will not lose [police] cars on this end of the district. Your beat cars will remain out here, your rapid-response cars will be out here. They will not go east in this district unless, of course, if we have something major going on, like an officer is in trouble or things like that.”

He added that applies to all beats in the district.

Beat integrity was a tactic designed by Kupczyk to ensure that police cars patrolling beats on the district’s west end are not redeployed to east-end hotspots. For years before Kupczyk’s arrival, people in Garfield Ridge and Clearing—and even in neighborhoods immediately east of Midway Airport—complained that they were left unprotected by redeployment of their beat cars to the Western Avenue corridor, a relatively high-crime portion of the district then and now.

Garfield Ridge “is a great neighborhood, and I want to keep it that way,” Pontecore added. “My goal is to one day leave the Eighth District a safer district than it was when I walked in here.”

He also praised the district’s rank and file police officers, saying they “do an astounding job” day in and day out. The audience showed its agreement by giving the officers in the back of the room a standing ovation later in the meeting.

Also at the meeting, GRNW board member Arlene White announced that the group’s recent Sell-A-Bration event at Kennedy High School raised more than $1,600, which will be donated to several local crime prevention endeavors.

Finally GRNW President Al Cacciottolo announced that the GRNW’s 115 members are encouraged to sign up for one of 40 spots on a bus that will conduct a group patrol later this month in Beat 811. The purpose of the exercise is to re-acquaint members with the basics of how to patrol the neighborhood’s streets, alleys, parks and school grounds safely and effectively—so that they may get back into the mix of patrolling in their own vehicles.

Those members interested are encouraged to send an email to


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