Sneed exclusive: McCarthy to call for compassion in new mental health directive to cops

SHARE Sneed exclusive: McCarthy to call for compassion in new mental health directive to cops

Top cop shop . . .

Sneed has learned that Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy plans to issue a new mental health directive to his troops on May 12.

It will call for compassion as well as action.


McCarthy, who is now on a listening tour to improve relationships between the department and minority communities, will order his watch commanders to issue a message about mental health disorders at roll calls throughout the city.

• The directives: Take time to adequately assess whether a problem is a mental health issue, as most people affected with mental illness are afraid.

Take suicidal behavior seriously and connect people to the care they need. A hospital may be needed before a lockup.

“The Chicago Police Department is a critical frontline partner in the effort to ensure people get the help they need to be productive, law-abiding citizens,” said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.

Sneed also is told that the message will be directed at police officers, who are at the highest risk for suicide of any profession, Burke said.

On May 12 “over 100 conversations about mental health are taking place around Chicago, via the Kennedy Forum and the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Community Trust as part of a regionwide mental health initiative,” Burke added.

The Obama library . . .

It’s a go! The Obama presidential library and museum is definitely coming to Chicago, as Sneed printed on April 27 — but it is unclear whether President Barack Obama will be in town when the library is announced.

Sneed is told a pressing international demand may keep him away.

Pew news . . .

A nave rave!

Credit Archbishop Blase Cupich, who has been cleaning out old chancery wood, for a first:

He presided over the installation of the first woman, Betsy Bohlen, as chief operating officer of the Archdiocese of Chicago — a new position in the organization’s leadership.

Last November, Sneed noted Cupich was eyeing moving women into prominent archdiocesan roles. Bohlen, who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, had been the archdiocese’s chief financial officer.

• Backshot: When Cupich was bishop of the diocese in Spokane, Washington — before he was chosen to replace Cardinal Francis George — women held top leadership positions in the Spokane chancery, and the CFO was a Protestant. He claimed he valued their perspective and they stopped him from making bad decisions. Ditto in Rapid City, South Dakota, where his office was staffed mostly by women when he served as bishop, according to an article in Spokane’s Spokesman-Review.

The van plan . . .

Delores Bailey, the mother of slain 15-year-old Demario Bailey — who was tragically shot and killed by a group of teens who wanted his coat on a cold day last December — just got what she desperately wanted.

A chance to save other kids from her son’s fate.

• Translation: Shortly after her son was killed at 63rd and State streets as he walked his twin brother to basketball practice, Bailey had requested cars to safely transport Englewood kids to extracurricular activities.

She just got her wish.

• To wit: Secretary of State Jesse White recently gave Bailey one of the Jesse White Tumblers’ vans, a 15-passenger 2008 Ford Econoline.

Bailey, who says she will use the van to drive kids so they don’t have to walk through a dangerous neighborhood, plans to paint one side of the van with her son’s face. On the other side, the words: “We will live and not die.” And on the back: “Get us home.”

She told Sneed: “We are going to get the kids to where they need to be. I promised . . . I would fight for them and that’s what I am going to do. Your daughter will be standing there by your door because my son isn’t standing there.”


Babs blab . . .

Legendary filmmaker Robert Redford, honored with the Film Society of Lincoln Center Chaplin Award on Monday night, was praised by legendary singer/actress Barbra Streisand, his co-star in the film: “The Way We Were.”

Streisand told a story from the first day on that movie’s set: “It was a few days after ‘Funny Girl,’ and as I walked down the sound stage I could hear the crew shouting out my opening lines from ‘Funny Girl,’ ‘Hello gorgeous!’ I was thrilled. I was flattered and then I realized they were talking to Bob.” There ya go.

Sneedlings . . 

Congrats to Patricia Taylor, chief facilities officer for the Chicago Public Schools, who retires Friday after 25 years  . . . Friday’s birthdays: Tim McGraw, 48; Wes Anderson, 46, and Ray Parker Jr., 61.

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