CHICAGO — Two of the Chicago Police Department's newest district commanders have pledged to bust up the gang violence plaguing the city.
The commanders, Joseph Gorman and Melissa Staples, were appointed to their posts this week in a shakeup announced by Superintendent Garry McCarthy Wednesday.
Gorman, a veteran of the department's gang investigation unit, inherits a 9th District that's been plagued by gang-related shootings. The district includes Bridgeport, Back of the Yards and McKinley Park.
"That's going to be our target," he said. "I'm going to make that an emphasis within the 9th District is to go after the gangs...I've done that for 27 years."
Gorman said he plans to "coach and manage" the district's 300-plus officers and allow supervisors and rank-and-file to get back to fundamental police work.
"What I'm going to try is encourage them to be the police. Don't be afraid of the police. Go out and be the police," he said.
Gorman replaces outgoing Cmdr. David Jarmusz, who leaves to head the department's Mass Transit Unit.
Staples, a 22-year-department veteran, takes over in the new "Near West Side" 12th District, a consolidation of the 12th and 13th districts that's expected to take place this month. She had previously served as commander in the North Side's 17th District.
"I don't consider myself another player. I think that I was chosen for this for a reason and I'm going to do the best I can," she said.
She said she wants officers in the merged district to increase intelligence "rather than just driving around."
"It's basically a lot of intelligence sharing between officers, between supervisors and everybody on the district to get on board. Let's not stop driving around and putting stops on these guys but let's do it based on intelligence."