Candidates running for 16th District council discuss issues
by BRIAN NADIG
The seven candidates for the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Council say they are running to give the community more input on policy decisions that impact the city’s crime-fighting efforts and want more resources to help the mental well-being of officers.
In the Feb. 28 municipal election, residents who live in the district are being asked to vote for three of the seven candidates.
Running are Trisha Kannon, Colleen Murphy, David Feller, Dan Butterworth, Colleen Mary Dillon, Danny Martin and John Marcatante.
Several of the candidates have been endorsed by at least one Northwest Side alderman, including Nicholas Sposato (38th), Anthony Napolitano (41st), Felix Cardona Jr. (31st) and James Gardiner (45th), who are considered among the most pro-police serving members in the City Council.
The following is a summary of the statements submitted by the candidates in response to questions asked by Nadig Newspapers.
Kannon, of Jefferson Park: “I want to restore effective manpower and proactive policies back to the 16th District to address the increase in crime. As the largest district, our concerns have not been addressed for years. My goal is to work collaboratively to find solutions that provide coverage for all districts and eliminates the chaotic canceling of days off. We also need to address why the suicide rate for Chicago police officers is 60 percent higher than the national average for members of law enforcement as part of our future strategy to improve safety for all.”
Kannon added, “This council is expected to have a variety of viewpoints represented. We can work together to review data, including the budget and recent policy changes, to review their effectiveness. The goal would be to present solutions based on a shared vision of improving safety across the city.”
Kannon is endorsed by Napolitano, Cardona, retired police lieutenant John Garrido, state Senator Ram Villivalam (D-8), Chicago Firefighters Local 2, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 and Local 150, and 41st Ward Democrats.
Murphy, of Jefferson Park: “District councils have great potential to make a positive impact. We can build stronger connections between police and community by holding monthly public meetings where residents can express their concerns and work with police. … More well-trained officers on the street need to be a priority.”
Murphy also said. “I’m president of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association, and we have local, state and federal politicians as well as police at various levels all the way up to district commanders come to our meetings. I get along with others. I’m an extrovert that likes people, and I find something to like about everyone. … And being a parent of a disabled child gives me a unique perspective to understand various viewpoints.”
Murphy is endorsed by Sposato and Gardiner.
Feller, of Portage Park: “I am running because … people lack confidence that they will be safe in their community. The CPD has one of the lowest case closure rates of any police department in the country. There is little community engagement, and there is a general unwillingness to work with the police to solve problems. Rank-and-file police officers are often unfairly criticized for the bad policy decisions of the leadership, and morale is low.”
Feller added, “During my service at the Cook County Sheriff’s office, I have helped develop and implement innovative policies that have made our office recognized as one of the most effective in the country. … We have utilized a co-responder model (where mental health clinicians respond with a police officer).”
Feller is endorsed by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, County Sheriff Tom Dart, state senators Robert Martwick (D-10) and Omar Aquino (D-2), state Representative Lindsey LaPointe (D-19), State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, IUOE Local 150, Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council, Water Reclamation District Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski, and the 38th and 41st Ward Democrats.
Butterworth, of Portage Park: “I want to bring the members of the community together to help craft a public safety partnership that leaves all feeling valued and respected. Our district is home to over 200,000 residents from all walks of life, including many current and retired officers and their families. I will be a voice for each and every one of us. … One thing I have observed while speaking with neighbors across the Northwest Side is that they would like to have more engagement with the 16th District.”
Butterworth said that he has recently completed the Chicago Police Department Citizens Academy, which is a 10-week 30-hour program that immerses participants in topics related to community policing, from procedural justice, police legitimacy and investigations.”
Butterworth is endorsed by Gardiner, Garrido, 41st Ward Democrats and Citizens in Action for Better Government.
Dillon, of Edison Park: “The city of Chicago has been home to me for my entire life. Like many people I have witnessed the outbreak of crime and violence go unchallenged these last few years. I saw the advent of the police district council as an opportunity to be part of a more responsive government. I want to be a voice for the victims of crime and law-abiding citizens.”
Dillon added, “When people have more input into the issues that concern them, that can only lead to a more positive outcome. The council exists to receive and digest input from the people they are deemed to serve. By working with the police and community, we can identify policing policies and strategies that work or don’t work. … Our current system of justice is extremely flawed, putting an enormous amount of unnecessary stress and pressure on our police.”
Dillon is endorsed by Napolitano, Sposato, Gardiner, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, Chicago Firefighters Local 2, state Representative Brad Stephens (R-20) and retired state representative Michael McAuliffe.
Martin, of Norwood Park: “The city of Chicago has seen a huge uptick in crime and a lack of justice in our judicial system. I refuse to stand by and lose our city. I am running for the police board to bring a strong common-sense, community voice to the 16th District. It’s time to take back our communities and make the streets safe once again.”
Martin added, “We need more police officers across the city. We will not meet the goals until law enforcement becomes a respected career again. We must protect out officers and show them support. The council can make a difference by showcasing what our men and women in blue do for us day and day out.”
Martin is endorsed by Sposato, Napolitano, Gardiner, Chicago Fraternal of Police Lodge 7 and Chicago Firefighters Local 2.
Marcatante, of Rosedale Park: “I believe that the councils are an opportunity to show policymakers that the citizens of this city do stand behind their law enforcement officers. The rioters and defund the police radicals are not representative of the community I live in and would be honored to represent.”
Marcatante also said, “I see police officers for what they are. They are our neighbors, friends and family members. They are the people who volunteer in our community and raise their families. So I support the people who work and live in my community, and I support our police officers.”
Marcatante is endorsed by Napolitano, Gardiner, Stephens, Teamsters Local 700 and Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.