Addressing public safety, violence prevention, and criminal justice reform requires a holistic approach that gives everyone a seat at the table. Gery was part of the original team of people who first implemented community policing in Chicago, and it’s this kind of proactive, socially-conscious approach that he will bring back to city government as mayor.
The Chicago Police Department will undergo reforms ordered under the federal court consent decree. These reforms are crucial. It is equally critical that we have the best trained police force in the country and that the police receive the respect they deserve for the work they do to keep us safe. The relationship between the community and the police is polarized and lacks trust. Our city cannot go on like this, and Gery pledges to make this relationship stronger and better.
We also must recognize that public safety is not only a question of the police. It’s a question of educational opportunity, job opportunities, and equity. Crime is a symptom brought on by years of prejudice and disinvestment. We cannot conquer this challenge if we continue to address it in silos, which is why Gery called for the creation of the the Mayor’s Office of Violence Reduction and Prevention to direct and coordinate violence reduction strategies moving forward.
We will be safer when we work together. That means working strategically and dynamically across city agencies, with researchers, nonprofits, and corporate partners. It means working with the Chicago Public Schools to make sure that at-risk youth are attending high-quality schools and getting the attention they need. It means working with the Department of Family and Support Services to provide targeted early childhood development supports to parents and children.
Gery Chico is committed to bringing the city together to address public safety holistically.