Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy today announced the revitalization of the Chicago Alternative Police Strategy – CAPS – in police districts across the city. The revitalization focuses on decentralizing CAPS resources, which will allow key decisions regarding community policing to be made at the district level instead of Police Headquarters, and training every officer in community policing strategies, including procedural justice and police legitimacy.
CAPS was formed in April 1993 as a partnership between police and community in the fight against crime. Instead of simply reacting to symptoms after the fact CAPS brought problem-solving to the neighborhood level. With today’s announcement changes will be made to provide greater authority and accountability to District Commanders, who will be responsible for the success of their plans, and to provide every officer – not just CAPS officers – the tools and training needed to follow those plans, engage residents and develop relationships that can prevent crime.
The efforts of CAPS officers in response to the needs identified in the District Commander’s plan will be included in the Chicago Police Department’s overall performance management system, also known as CompStat.
Each police district will be assigned a CAPS Sergeant and two police officers, as well as a community organizer and a shared youth services provider. In addition, four citywide coordinators will oversee community policing programs targeted at some of our most vulnerable populations, including the Victim Assistance Section, the Senior and Community Outreach Section, the Domestic Violence Section and the Youth Services Section.
District commanders will be responsible for regular review of community policing efforts, and will strive to ensure the work is successful in addressing the needs of the community. Commanders will also be responsible for cementing a positive and productive relationship between police officers and neighborhood residents and businesses.