Local leaders and community members were introduced to the 15th District’s newest commander during a breakfast meet-and-greet hosted by the Austin African American Business Networking Association on Aug. 11 at Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, 5820 W. Chicago Ave. in Austin. 

Commander Patrina Wines, a 27-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was promoted to 15th District commander in July, replacing former commander Yolanda Talley. Wines, a South Side native, previously served as a captain in the 3rd District.

She’s also been a lieutenant in the Office of Community Policing, a Watch Operations lieutenant and a community policing sergeant in the 5th District, according to a statement released last month by CPD’s News Affairs division.  

In addition, Wines has experience in training coordination in the department’s Narcotics Division. She has a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement management from Calumet College and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, CPD explained.

 During Tuesday’s breakfast, former 15th District commander and Deputy Chief of Patrol Ernest Cato touted the district’s “unique dynamic,” which he said entails close working relationships between the police department and community organizations. 

“Commander Wines wasn’t just plucked somewhere and put here by chance,” Cato said. “Commander Wines from 2008 to 2012 was a CAPS [Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy] sergeant in the 5th District. See where I’m going with this? So her mindset was already established early on in her career — from being a patrolmen to a sergeant — is about how to work within the community.” 

Cato said that community “isn’t necessarily where you live. Community is about the values you share.”  

Wines said that community policing “is basically what my calling is,” adding that “without community there is no problem-solving.” 

Wines and other 15th District officers said that the district’s unique emphasis on community policing was critical with ensuring that looting that affected the city’s Streeterville and West Garfield Park communities last week did not spread to Austin.   

Wines said that the department utilized “positive loitering,” whereby police officers and community members establish a visible presence in problematic areas and lean on community organizations like Austin Coming Together and the Westside Health Authority to provide resources and support for residents. 

Each week, the 15th District’s Austin Response Team takes over a corner in the community and provides free food, live music and resource tables. On Aug. 12, Wines and other officers flooded the corner of Corcoran and Central in Austin. 

Officers from the 15th District said that residents who want information about upcoming events and initiatives by the Austin Response Team can text ARTNOW to 64600. 

Cato added that the department’s new Community Safety Team has been critical in addressing concerns about possible looting. 

The team is “designed to partner with local stakeholders to address violence, neighborhood concerns, and ongoing conflicts,” according to the River North Residents Association. 

“The Community Safety Team consists of nearly 300 officers who will be deployed to scenes of shootings and robberies throughout the city, and will also work with community-based organizations, faith leaders, and neighborhood leaders to address the inequalities and injustice that seed the bitter fruits of violent crime.”  

Malcolm Crawford, the founder of AAABNA, recalled that there have been at least six commanders since his organization started hosting the breakfast meet-and-greets with 15th District commanders. 

Former commander Al Wysinger, who helmed the 15th District from 2005 to 2008, was the first commander to participate in AAABNA’s meet-and-greets. 

Crawford pointed out that many of those past commanders in the 15th District — including Cato, former commander and Deputy Supt. Barbara West, and Wysinger, who was shortlisted to become superintendent before Supt. David Brown got the job — have gone on to serve in even higher positions within the department. 

“Y’all got to keep her here for a little while,” Crawford said. “We know this is a grooming ground for greatness.”