The 15th District’s Capt. Gorzkowski conducted a press conference, Dec. 18, to update the community on a recent drug bust operation called Operation Doll Eyes. Numerous locations in the Austin community were targeted over several months to eradicate “open air” drug sales. An elaborate surveillance was conducted during the months of August, September, October, and November, at sites where drugs were being sold openly in front of residents’ homes and within feet of churches and/or schools.

In some instances, children were observed leaving school while young men conducted their trade in broad daylight. Operation Doll Eyes was able to arrest 18 people-16 adult males and two adult females-and seven cars were seized. Ages of those arrested ranged from the early 20s to individuals in their 60s.

Narcotics and Gang Investigation Section (NAGIS) provided information on the problem areas in the Austin community. Locations included Fulton & Waller, the 200 block of Parkside, the 300 block of North Mayfield Avenue, and Menard & Waller (where heroin and crack were the drugs traded). Capt. Gorzkowski explained that operations like this go on for several months in order to get everyone they have targeted.

“As you know,” he said, “the white T-shirts in the summer is called urban camouflage. Everyone is wearing a white T-shirt, so if you’re looking for a guy in a white T-shirt, there are plenty of people on corners, etc. The operation is basically from the neighborhood. The customers are from the neighborhood and also from the suburbs coming in to buy. We also did ‘reverse stings,’ where we took seven cars. Taking homes involved in drugs is another program. This is how you hurt these operations is to go after their financial ability-take away homes, take away cars.”

The captain also explained the meaning of reverse stings: “This is to go after the buyer. They do a roundup. They go out at five in the morning trying to get all the people. So now the operation is shut down, but do the buyers know this? So the officers will go out and pose as drug dealers. They come up to [the officers], try to purchase drugs, and the officers place them under arrest. After the reverse drug sting, we like to keep a car in that area as much as possible to make sure some new gang doesn’t start up. We usually hear from the community if things are much better.

“I can’t say enough about 15th District officers and their skills, and Commander Wysinger came from narcotics and this really helps with our operations.”

The areas where surveillance cameras are mounted also discourage drug sales. However, the dealers often move into alleyways or to different blocks where there are no cameras. The captain also researched some statistics on the nine targeted individuals who were main dealers and found they had a total of 163 arrests combined and 30 convictions. He also discussed where the buyers come from. It depends, he said. Some areas attract more of a suburban clientele. This operation was more a neighborhood clientele.

AWN: Is there a direct correlation between homicide and drugs in the Austin community?

Capt. Gorzowski: The majority of our shootings are drug- and gang-related.

AWN: Was the fire on Laramie last Friday drug-related since it has been reported it was arson?

The Captain said as far as he knows, no arrests have been made yet.

On Friday morning, Dec. 14, a fire in an appliance store located at 330 N. Laramie destroyed the building. Some five people were seriously injured, including a child. The building housed G & G Appliance, with apartments on the second floor. Two Comcast Cable workers happened to be passing and were able to rescue many of the residents. AWN contacted the Chicago Fire Department’s Media Affairs Division, and we were told the incident is now a police matter because arson had been discovered during a search of the scene. All further information will come from the police department.