16th District crime, portocols discussed


The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee at its Feb. 17 meeting discussed two recent traffic stops that led to gun-related arrests and the apprehension of two burglary suspects who were seen checking the door handles of parked vehicles.

Four teenagers were taken into custody at about 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, after a handgun was found inside their car during a traffic stop in the 3600 block of North Melvina Avenue, according to police.

The driver told officers that he did not have a license because he was 14 years old, and officers smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car, according to police. A gun was later found inside a plastic bag on the back seat, police said.

In a separate incident, a suspected gang member was charged with unlawful use of a weapon following a traffic stop for a minor violation at about 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, in the 3700 block of North Austin Avenue, police said. The suspect was identified by police as Marlon Tello, age 24, of the 2800 block of North Mobile Avenue.

An officer saw the driver make suspicious movements as he approached the vehicle, and during a search of the man, the officer asked him if he had a weapon and he said that he had a gun in his pocket, according to police. A loaded handgun was recovered, police said.

The committee presented the January Officer of the Month Award to sergeant Patrick Haran and officer Wendy Weller for the arrest.

It also was reported that a 13-year-old male and a 15-year-old male were arrested at about 2 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 4, in connection with the burglary of a vehicle in the 5800 block of West Grace Street.

The suspects matched the description of individuals who were seen looking into parked cars and checking door handles, and as officers approached the suspects, they ran, police said. A short time later officers found the suspects hiding in a yard in the 5800 block of West Berenice Avenue, police said.

Also at the meeting, the committee was shown a police training video explaining the guidelines which offers follow for filling out contact cards after questioning suspicious individuals and for frisking them for weapons. 16th District commander Roger Bay said that there are misconceptions in the media about why and how officers conduct "street stops" and that he hopes the committee members, who represent local community groups, can help communicate correct information to the public.

In instances in which the individual is not arrested, officers may fill out a contact card with the person’s name and the location of the stop, and the cards may be used in subsequent investigations if a crime pattern develops in that area, Bay said.

The training video showed two officers questioning a man who was seen in the dark near the entrance of a bar, and they decide to question the man due to a recent series of robberies in the area. The officers also believed that that it was unlikely that the man was waiting for a friend because they had checked the bar a short time earlier and there were no patrons inside.

The video states that street stops are proper when the officers suspect that a crime is being committed, is about to be committed or has just been committed and that a pat-down search of the outer clothing of the individuals can be conducted if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has an object that could be used as a weapon.

The video also states that conducting a street stop solely because an individual is a known gang member, is in a high-crime area or is running away is not proper and that a combination of factors are required.

The committee also gave the December Officer of the Month Award to officers Anthony Lafata and Taras Bilyj and sergeant Richard Banaszkiewicz for their arrest in a home invasion that was reported in the 4800 block of West Patterson Avenue. The suspect fled the apartment on Patterson and ran into a home in the 5800 block of West Waveland Avenue, where he was found hiding under the stairs, according to police.