University of Chicago’s new international police academy teaching policing successes of New York, Los Angeles, not Chicago

Homicide rates plummeted in those cities over the past 30 years. “We haven’t seen that same success in Chicago, where murder rates have remained stagnant for 30 years. That needs to change,” said Kristen Mahoney, director of the new academy.

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Chicago police officers at a graduation ceremony on Oct. 20, 2021.

Chicago police officers at a graduation ceremony on Oct. 20, 2021.

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A new international police leadership academy is starting up Monday in Chicago, and some of the key lessons for the 24 participants are being taken from the successes of the New York and Los Angeles police departments — not the Chicago Police Department.

The six-month Policing Leadership Academy, announced last year after billionaire Ken Griffin contributed $25 million to the effort, is based at the University of Chicago.

Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin during the launch of University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Safety Leadership Academies in May 2022.

Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin speaks during the launch of University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Safety Leadership Academies in May 2022.

Pat Nabong / Sun-Times

“Los Angeles and New York City were early adopters of data-driven policing management,” said Kristen Mahoney, director of the academy. “Research by the University of Chicago Crime Lab shows that these types of management interventions can reduce violent crime rates and police use of force by more than a third. But we haven’t seen that same success in Chicago, where murder rates have remained stagnant for 30 years. That needs to change, and the PLA’s education in police management and leadership is the key to progress.”

Thirty years ago, murder rates in Los Angeles and New York were at historic highs but fell 80% and 90% ahead of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been 197 murders in Chicago this year through last week. That’s 9% fewer than during the same period last year but 20% higher than four years ago, when there were 164.

New York, more than three times the size of Chicago, had 138 murders this year through last week, an 11% decrease over 2022.

Los Angeles, also much larger than Chicago, had 98 murders over the same period, a 27% decrease over last year.

“Put simply, improved police management and leadership is the key,” said Charlie Beck, a former Los Angeles police chief who was the interim Chicago police superintendent in late 2019 and early 2020.

Kenneth Corey, former chief of department for the NYPD.

Kenneth Corey, former chief of department for the NYPD.

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Leaders of the academy include Kenneth Corey, a former high-ranking New York police official, Tyeesha Dixon, Chicago’s top adviser for implementation of the federally enforced consent degree that governs Chicago police practices, and former LAPD officials Sandy Jo MacArthur and Luann Pannell.

Chicago, Los Angeles and New York are sending supervisors to go through the training. Manchester, England, also has a participant, as do Waco, Texas, and Wichita, Kansas.

Chico Tillmon, the executive director of READI Chicago.

Chico Tillmon, the executive director of READI Chicago.

Provided

The academy is part of the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies, which also includes the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy run by Chico Tillmon, the executive director of READI Chicago, who said cops and outreach workers should be “complementary components of the public safety ecosystem.”

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