CHINATOWN — The Deering District has a new police commander — and he's the district's first Asian-American cop to take the job.
The appointment of Stephen Chung, a 20-year-old veteran officer who transferred to Bridgeport from a captain post in the Grand Crossing District, has drawn applause from groups like the Chinese American Service League.
"Having an Asian-American commander in a district so heavily populated by Asian-Americans will provide vital cultural understanding in addition to excellent law enforcement," said Esther Wong, the service league's executive director.
A recipient of the Chicago Police Department’s Award of Valor and the Cook County Award of Valor, Chung said his heritage will not change the way he does his job
“I am of Asian descent and quite proud of it, but I'm accepting this position as a Chicagoan, a member of the Chicago Police family and as a new member of the [Deering] district community,” Chung told DNAinfo Chicago. “The district is composed of a richly diverse population, each with its nuances, but my approach will be one of considering the district as whole, one community.”
Chung replaces Daniel Godsel, who is now the commander of the Chicago Police Department’s Education and Training Division. In his new role, Godsel will support the department’s efforts to hire and train 970 new officers over the next two years.
In the Deering District, Chung said he will focus on making neighborhood folks feel safe and confident in the policing happening on their streets.
“As far as my vision, it revolves around developing a comfort level, a level of comfort and trust,” Chung said. “It is a bit hard to convey, but I don't merely mean a level of trust necessary for a citizen to approach a city agency like the police. I mean a level of trust that we have — one to another — as community members.”
Chung's first step as the Deering District's boss will be assigning officers to certain neighborhoods to build relationships with residents.
"My intent is to begin this process by ensuring that police officers are assigned to specific areas more consistently," Chung said. "The intent here would be [to make] officers familiar with the community they are serving, know the community members, families and the communities’ neighborhood concerns, [to be] more effective in working proactively with the community to make the neighborhoods safer."
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