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Neighborhood Policing Initiative program expands to Grand Crossing, Englewood and Gresham districts

The initiative, modeled after the New York Police Department’s Neighborhood Policing program, encourages District Coordination Officers to engage with residents on a personal level.

Police Supt. David Brown speaks to press outside of the McCormick Place Lakeside Center about the new expansion to the Neighborhood Policing Initiative, which will place Disitrict Coordination Officers in Grand Crossing, Englewood and Gresham, Friday, May 7, 2021.
Police Supt. David Brown speaks to press outside of the McCormick Place Lakeside Center about the new expansion to the Neighborhood Policing Initiative, which will place District Coordination Officers in Grand Crossing, Englewood and Gresham, Friday, May 7, 2021.
Zac Clingenpeel/ Sun-Times

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced Friday that the department’s Neighborhood Policing Initiative program will expand to the Grand Crossing, Englewood and Gresham districts.

The initiative, modeled after the New York Police Department’s Neighborhood Policing program, encourages district coordination officers to engage with residents on a personal level, providing a direct contact between community members and the CPD.

The officers, equipped with cellphones, are to share business cards with residents so they are easily reachable.

“This DCO program requires our officers to go to the community and the settings in the community, even if that means going door to door,” Brown said before speaking to trainees of the program at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center.

The Neighborhood Policing Initiative is currently in place in the Grand Central, Austin, Deering, Harrison, Ogden, Calumet and South Chicago police districts. Since its implementation, there has been a noticeable decrease in the amount of 911 phone calls in participating neighborhoods, Brown said.

Officers beginning their District Coordination training kick-off their four week program with a speech by Police Supt. David Brown at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center May 7.
Officers beginning their District Coordination training kick-off their four week program with a speech by Police Supt. David Brown at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center May 7.
Zac Clingenpeel/Sun-Times

Officers in the Neighborhood Policing Initiative program are responsible for working with community ambassadors who are chosen by the New York Policing Project, a program that seeks to connect communities with local police departments to ensure the latter are held accountable.

“Rather minor or involved, we want some participation from the community because that will help us build some accountability,” said Angel Novalez, the commander of the CPD’s office of community policing. “Also, it gives people a sense of ownership of their own geography.”

Brown’s address to the trainees Friday was closed to media. But before members of the press were asked to leave the room, the top cop touched upon how police misconduct effects public perception of law enforcement officials.

“When you think about the behaviors of misconduct in other parts of the country and here in Chicago, it often overshadows these good cops,” Brown said.