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Former Top Cop Says City Needs More Than Policing to Address Violence

By Quinn Ford | May 2, 2013 3:05pm
 Former Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline now heads the nonprofit Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
Former Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline now heads the nonprofit Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
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DNAinfo/Quinn Ford

CHICAGO — The city's former top cop commended the Police Department Thursday on a dip in murders so far this year, but added that city violence is not "just a police problem."

Former Police Supt. Phil Cline, who headed the department from 2003 to 2007, said he approves of how current Supt. Garry McCarthy is handling the job.

"His strategies are working right now, so they should just keep doing what they're doing," Cline said.

Cline said it is important to remember addressing the city's violence problem does not fall solely on the Police Department.

"The courts have to get involved and the state's attorney's office, the education system," he said. "It's society's problem, not just a police problem."

On Wednesday, McCarthy touted a 42 percent decrease in murders so far this year over last year, calling the decrease progress. McCarthy's comments coincided with a bloody Tuesday night that saw three people killed and at least 17 others wounded.

Cline pointed to the violent night as proof police are fighting "a never-ending battle," especially as the warm weather sets in and more people are out in the city's streets.

"We've got the worst gang problem in the country in Chicago, so you just got to keep coming up with strategies to attack it," Cline said.

Cline, who now heads the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, spoke Thursday at Gold Star Families Memorial and Park to oversee the planting of more than 100 trees and plants donated to the park by Chicago Cubs Charities.

Cline said the donations are just in time for the foundation's ninth annual "Run to Remember" 5K race on Saturday.

He said 4,600 people have registered for the race so far and added anyone interested in participating can sign up through Friday at the city's police academy, 1300 W. Jackson Blvd. Online registration is closed.

Cline said the donated greenery will "spruce up" the park when families come on Saturday and added the donation helps the foundation further its mission, which is paying for the education of children of fallen police officers.

"To us, it's money we don't have to spend to go out and buy that type of stuff, so we can keep it to our core issue," he said.