ALBANY PARK — The new Albany Park police district commander said he's "not the cure for crime" but aims to use knowledge gained from his years of experience as a cop to make the area safer.
Cmdr. Jose Ramirez, promoted Monday to head the Albany Park (17th) District, introduced himself to a round of applause from his new constituents Wednesday night at a community policing meeting at the Pulaski Road headquarters.
"This is a big change from the South Side," said Ramirez, the district's fourth commander in six years. "They only clap when you leave the South Side."
In addressing Wednesday night's meeting of Beat 1723 — bordered by Pulaski Road, Kimball Avenue, Lawrence Avenue and Irving Park Road — Ramirez called himself "old school police" and highlighted his experience working organized crime, gangs and narcotics. His resume also includes a stint policing the Robert Taylor Homes.
"I probably bring some different perspectives and resources," said the commander. "I'm not the cure for crime, but I'll be with you."
Though he joked that he was still learning the North Side's complicated maze of one-way streets, Ramirez, who grew up in the Trumbull Park Homes public housing complex at 106th Street, proved he was ready to hit the ground running.
Issues raised at the meeting included complaints about an unsecured vacant house possibly attracting gang activity.
"I got a lieutenant that works in troubled buildings," said Ramirez. "This is the first thing I'm going to send her."