State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford. File.

Could increased police response times in minority communities in Chicago be partially due to the common practice of Chicago police leaving the city during their breaks?

I recently filed House Resolution 569, which urges the Inspector General of the City of Chicago to conduct a performance audit of the Chicago Police Department to determine and assess police emergency response times in Chicago neighborhoods and communities, and to make recommendations to improve response times in primarily African American and Hispanic areas.  

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago on behalf of the Central Austin Neighborhood Association (CANA), charging that response times to 911 calls in neighborhoods with high minority populations are slower than those in predominantly white areas.

Recently, around 8:30 p.m., I was driving on Lake Street in Oak Park, west of Oak Park Ave, when a Chicago Police Department SUV sped by eastbound with its blue lights flashing, headed back to Chicago.  

All I could think was that the officers would have been closer to their destination had they grabbed their bite to eat in the district where they were serving.  

The presence of police officers in local restaurants helps to build community relations, supports local businesses and helps to create security by their very presence — even when not officially on duty.  

Would requiring Chicago police officers to take their breaks in Chicago, rather than in the suburbs, help to address the disparities we see in police response times? 

State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (8th)