The Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative is a policing philosophy that is grounded in the principle that public safety is the responsibility of everyone who works and lives in the neighborhood; that we are safer when we communicate effectively and work together. Working together, the police understand the needs of the community, they learn more effective ways to respond to community needs, and they understand root causes to recurring public safety concerns by talking directly with residents. That keeps everyone in the know, and that is the heart of the Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative.
MORE INVOLVEMENT FROM OUR COMMUNITY: COMMUNITY AMBASSADORS
Our willingness to talk to and work with our police is the other big part of the Neighborhood Policing Initiative. As community members, we should lead the conversation about what makes us feel safe, and work collaboratively with the agencies that help achieve the safety we want to see. Working together keeps us safer together.
Under NPI, Community Ambassadors are the neighbors who volunteer to work closely with Chicago police officers to bridge relationships and achieve safety goals. As Community Ambassadors and District Coordination Officers solve problems together, our community’s safety network gets stronger and works faster.
But that’s only one half of NPI.
MORE PUBLIC SAFETY PATROLS: DISTRICT COORDINATION OFFICERS
Under CNPI, each district restructures its patrol assignments to keep officers in their assigned sector, or District Coordinating Area (DCA). Each district is assigned a team of District Coordination Officers (DCOs), these are officers that do not regularly respond to emergency calls. Their time is spent working with community members to identify resources and address root causes for recurring public safety concerns.
DCOs support and coordinate with district beat officers to develop continuity in how public safety concerns are addressed. Keeping beat officers in their assigned sectors helps them get to know us better — and we get to know them better. The District Coordination Officers want to get to know the people in their District Coordination Areas.
DOING BETTER: BUILDING TRUST
The Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative is a part of a city-wide effort to rebuild trust between our communities and our police officers. This effort started after the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager, by Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white. As community groups complained, the federal Justice Department investigated the Chicago Police Department and released a report in 2017 that found our city’s officers needed more training and better relationships with residents, especially people of color.
To start the process of structural reform, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois signed a consent decree, a court order requiring reforms within the Chicago Police Department so better serves Chicago community members.
The consent decree created an opportunity for community groups to work with CPD to implement the Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative, among several other strategies. CNPI started as a pilot program in a small number of neighborhoods, and now it is expanding to all districts in the city.
And that’s where you come in.
The Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative is a program of the Policing Project at NYU School of Law. Learn more about the Policing Project >>