6 new police officers assigned to 16th/Jefferson Park District





by BRIAN NADIG

Six new police officers are being assigned to the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District this month in an effort to help address the personnel shortage in the district.

Earlier this year Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson pledged to assign more officers to the district, which has about 190 officers compared to 270 in the early 2000s.

Even with the additional officers, the district reportedly has fewer officers than at the start of 2016 due to retirement and other attrition.

“He came through on his promise,” district commander William Looney said at he July 21 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee. “I was able to put them on midnights and put three more seasoned officers on tactical. That’s a step in the right direction.”

Assigning more officers to the tactical unit will help the district to focus on combating robberies of burglaries, Looney said. In the past four weeks, the reported number of robberies in the district was 15 compared to nine over the same period last year, and the number of burglaries was 48 compared to 31 during the same period in 2015.

It also was reported that the number of motor vehicle thefts in the district was 39 during the past four weeks compared to 45 during the same period last year and that that number of people arrested in connection with vehicle thefts was 11 in the past four weeks compared to two during the same period last year.

Looney said that the some of the arrests occurred during seatbelt and other traffic missions which the district was conducting.

Also at the meeting, Looney said that the police department has suspended all outdoor roll calls due to concerns about officer safety following the killing of five officers in Dallas. Earlier this year the department mandated that each district hold weekly outdoor roll calls to help improve the relationship between police and residents.

Looney said that the district’s outdoor roll calls had been well-received and that about 300 people recently attended a prayer vigil in front of the district station, 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave., in memory of the slain Dallas officers. “In this area the police and community are working together,” he said.

Also due to safety concerns, the department recently ordered districts to stop using patrol cars with only one officer. The requirement of two officers per car reportedly has led to fewer beat cars on patrol during some shifts.

It also was reported that two men were arrested in connection with an attempted burglary of a Ford pickup truck at about 3:40 a.m. Monday, June 6, in the 5200 block of West Berenice Avenue.

An officer reported seeing one of the of the suspects attempting to gain entry to the vehicle, while the other suspect waited in another vehicle in the middle of the street, according to police. The suspects were arrested a short time later, and one of them allegedly possessed about 3 grams of suspected heroin, police said.

One of the suspects, who was identified by police as Ricardo D. Smith, age 53, of the 1600 block of West Ogden Avenue, was charged with attempted burglary, theft of lost or mislaid property and possession of burglary tools, police said. The other suspect, who was identified by police as Dexter Collier, age 47, of the 8000 block of South Euclid Avenue, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and theft of lost or mislaid property, police said.

In other news, the committee honored officers David Mullany and Nicholas Hertko and sergeant Patrick Haran for their May 1 arrest of a driver who reportedly possessed a loaded handgun and a passenger who reportedly possessed Xanax without a prescription during an incident in the 4800 block of West Irving Park Road.

The district will hold its annual “National Night Out” celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave. A Chicago police canine unit, a mounted unit, a crime lab display, a police helicopter, live music and a classic car show are scheduled.

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