CPD adding 200 officers to Community Safety Team

The Community Safety Team is tasked with supplementing efforts by district commanders while also reaching out to community leaders to forge stronger relationships between police and residents on the South and West sides.

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Police were speaking with a person of interest in a string of machete attacks on the Northwest Side.

The Chicago Police Department is expanding its Community Safety Team.

File photo

The Chicago Police Department’s Community Safety Team — a new unit aimed at forging stronger community ties on the South and West Sides — is growing.

Another 200 officers will soon join the 450 already assigned to the team, which was created earlier this year as part of Supt. David Brown’s reorganization of the CPD.

The Community Safety Team was unveiled in July. It is tasked with supplementing efforts by district commanders, while also reaching out to community leaders in an attempt to forge stronger relationships between police and residents on the South and West sides.

The team is led by Michael Barz, who Brown recently promoted to deputy chief. In recent years, Barz has served in leadership roles in the CPD’s Ogden and Grand Central districts on the West and Northwest sides.

“While we will continue fighting violent crime with every resource at our disposal, it’s also important to note that [the] Community Safety Team’s core aspect is community service,” Barz said at a Monday press conference, noting that the newly assigned officers were pulled from districts and units across the city.

The Community Safety Team debuted in concert with the department’s new Critical Incident Response Team, which focuses on large gatherings in the downtown area.

Though dozens of people are shot in Chicago every weekend, a news release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said murders in Chicago have decreased by 44% since the teams were created.

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