MANHATTAN — Crime-weary Chicago police officials will introduce NYPD community relations programs to their department in a bid to help stem the Windy City's skyrocketing murder rate and improve disintegrating community relations.
Chicago's Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson and his top brass spent two days at the NYPD's headquarters and police academy diving into several programs credited with toppling crime and bridging community relations here, particularly in minority communities that were hardest hit by heavy-handed police tactics such as stop-and-frisk.
Johnson, who heads Chicago's 12,000-member force, says he now plans to launch a pilot training program next month for rookie officers based on how the NYPD deploys its newest officers into communities.
The NYPD has re-engineered its approach to community policing in two critical ways: pairing rookie officers with veterans to ensure they learn proper ways to interact with the public, and posting specific officers in their beats for the purpose of becoming familiar with the merchants and residents for proactive policing rather than sitting in a patrol car waiting for a 911 call when violence has already broken out.
Relations between Chicago police and those who live in the city have become increasingly strained as the number of homicides rose to 770 this year, nearly 60 percent higher than the 492 slayings last year. The number of shootings climbed in Chicago to more than 4,300 so far this year, compared to about 1,000 in New York, which has more than three times the population.
With Chicago about to increase its force with 1,000 new recruits, Johnson said it was an appropriate time to test the NYPD's techniques.
“I liked what I saw in New York,” Johnson said after returning to Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Before they go to their district, where they will be formally assigned, we’re going to let them go there for a week or so and meet some community members,” Johnson said. “Then, when they go there for their field training, those same community members will partner up with them and take them around those communities."
Chicago’s top police officials also studied the NYPD anti-gang initiatives that familiarize officers with specific gang leaders and members who have histories in gun violence and other criminal activities in their communities, according to sources in New York.
The NYPD has arrested nearly 1,000 gang members in the last year alone — the same period of time during which the number of shootings in the Big Apple fell by 12 percent to 1,000.
“These are not just collars, they are the guys specifically targeted because they are involved in gang violence and gang conspiracies, and committing the shootings and driving the crime,” a top NYPD official explained.
Chicago has one of the nation's most entrenched gang problems in the nation.
Johnson's team also attended the department’s Compstat meetings, where top commanders drill down on crime statistics to ensure that precinct supervisors are devising ways to combat violence in their neighborhoods, sources said.
But no decision has been made if Chicago will be bring a version of Compstat to the Windy City as well, a Chicago PD spokesman said.
Ironically, Johnson’s predecessor, Garry McCarthy, was a former NYPD deputy commissioner in charge of operations and Compstat. He was forced out by Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, following a controversial fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald.
As 2016 ends, overall crime in New York has fallen by another 4 percent as of Dec. 18, with murder also down 4 percent to 325 homicides compared to 339 for the same period in 2015.