There is no greater responsibility for City government than ensuring all neighborhoods are safe and secure. All Chicagoans should be able to drive or take public transportation to work, allow their children to walk to local schools or parks, or just simply sit in their yards or on their porches without fear or anxiety over their safety.
With over 3,700 people murdered and over 15,000 shot and wounded since 2012, with citywide vehicular high-jackings up 178 percent, including a 700 percent increase downtown, with CTA crime up 47 percent since 2015 and with a murder clearance rate of only 17 percent and 4 percent in shootings, Chicago is clearly facing a public safety crisis.
There is no more effective way to combat crime and improve public safety than to have an effective police force in which every neighborhood has enough officers who are familiar with and known to the community and ideally come from the community. These officers also need to be well trained and equipped to respond appropriately to any situation, but also engaged with and accountable to the community.
This is not what we have had in Chicago, and this is why I am running for Mayor.
Accountability is essential for the Chicago Police Department and the community. But real accountability cannot be achieved unless police officers have the numbers, training, equipment and supervision to do their jobs properly.
This has simply not been the case. You can't have accountability when you have no "beat Integrity" and officers are routinely moved from their home districts to others they are unfamiliar with and whose residents are unfamiliar with them. You can't have accountability when you do not have appropriate, modern, continuous and redundant training in key areas such as crisis situation de-escalation. You can't have accountability when you don't have adequate supervision, through both adequate supervisory personnel and training officers. You can't have accountability when your officers do not have alternatives to having to use deadly force.
Accountability starts at the very top, and the mayor must set the tone. It is about more than just sound bites. It is about leadership, trustworthiness, and partnership. It's about making the commitment to ensure that the infrastructure is in place and sustained to ensure that the police officers can serve the community effectively and accountably.
I have laid out a very specific and detailed plan on how to provide the Chicago Police Department with the resources and support it needs to improve public safety in every neighborhood and to ensure effective accountability. This requires that the City, have enough police to guarantee beat integrity in every district. That there be a police officer trained to deal with school-age children in every school and that the CTA have enough officers to patrol stations and the trains.
This means that the five detective areas be permanently restored with a full contingent of 1,200 detectives who are also assisted by up to 400 retired detectives and analysts. It also means there must be sufficient supervisors, including one sergeant for every ten officers. It also means sufficient training officers ideally drawn from the ranks of CPD's most accomplished officers.
Read the full letter at austinweeklynews.com.
Paul Vallas, candidate for Mayor of Chicago
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