West Side Police Districts and community areas | Credit: Chicago Police Department

The police district councils representing three out of four police districts serving the West Side have scheduled their first-ever community meetings for late May and early June.

The council for the 11th District, which includes most of Garfield Park and the section of North Lawndale north of Roosevelt Road, will meet on May 24 at 6 p.m. at West Garfield Park’s Legler Regional Library, 115 S. Pulaski Rd. The council for the 25th District, which includes the portion of Austin north of Division Street, including Galewood, will meet on May 31 at 6 p.m., at Belmont Cragin’s El Artesanal Coffee & Market Co., 5217 W. Diversey Ave. And the council for the 15th District, which falls entirely within the section of Austin south of Division Street, will meet on June 8 at the Bethel New Life campus at 1150 N. Lamon Ave.

Deondre Rutues and Angelica Green, who are members of the 15th and 25th district councils (respectively) and supported each other’s campaigns, told Austin Weekly News they were interested in hearing from residents about their priorities and what they wanted to see from the council. They both encouraged residents to attend.

As of this issue’s deadline, the council for the 10th District, which includes the rest of North Lawndale, Little Village and a portion of Pilsen, hasn’t scheduled a meeting.

In July 2021, Chicago’s City Council approved a package of police reforms that created the city-wide Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability and three-member councils for each of the city’s 22 police districts. The councils were elected during the Feb. 28 mayoral election and sworn in on May 5.

Each council will serve as a liaison between the community and the police, getting input from residents on what issues each district should prioritize and the best way to handle those issues. It’s a venue where the public can weigh in on what officers are doing wrong and what the officers are doing right.

The councils will also be responsible for nominating candidates to serve on the city-wide commission. The commission is currently made up of seven interim commissioners appointed by then-mayor Lori Lightfoot. They are responsible for selecting candidates, members of the Chicago Police Board, a civilian police disciplinary body, and the head of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. They also review police policies and recommend their own polities, review the police and COPA budgets and set priorities for the organization heads.

The councils must hold community meetings at least once a month.

Igor Studenkov

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...