ROGERS PARK — Neighborhood police officers will attend just half of the Rogers Park Police District community policing beat meetings after the format for the meetings changes next month, officials said.
The CAPS program was founded in the 1990s to encourage cooperation among police officers and residents.
Since 2010, when the CAPS budget was cut, Rogers Park residents have been meeting monthly as "sectors," which include three beats.
But beginning next month, meetings will be held for each of Rogers Park's nine beats. Police officers will attend each meeting every other month.
"It was the community's request to break apart the sector-wide meetings to individual meetings so they can focus on their more localized area," said Officer Janel Sedevic, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
She said officers won't be able to attend each meeting because now there will be nine meetings each month instead of three.
"The community requested it, and they were made aware of what effects that would cause," she said.
Pat Kenny, CAPS facilitator for beat 2432, said the meetings where police don't show up will be run by the beat's facilitator.
"By keeping it kind of local, without the sector meeting, I’m figuring it should generate more local participation," he said, adding that the new format could change based on feedback from attendees.
Bernard Garbo, CAPS facilitator for beat 2424, said the change has the support of most residents who remember the smaller beat meetings held in the past.
"It seems to work OK," he said. "I think the potential of this working is pretty good. ... I don’t think it’s going to be detrimental."
At the meetings without the police, pertinent public safety info would be passed along to the district's community policing office, officials said.
Sedevic, the Police Department spokeswoman, said the meetings sans officers would be considered "unofficial CAPS meetings."
She said the format of beat meetings in other districts depends on the needs of each community.
"There’s certain districts that have beat meetings and nobody shows up," she said. "Some have meetings more frequently."
She said the district's first beat meeting using the new format will be on Sept. 2 in beat 2412. Call the community policing office at 312-744-5907 for more information.
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