Broad coalition pushes for additional police district on city’s Southwest Side
A broad coalition of elected officials, community groups and local residents added their voices to the call to create an additional Chicago police district and new police beats on the city’s Southwest Side, at a press conference held Thursday morning at the Clearing Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place.
The group of mainly Southwest Side alderpersons is urging Mayor Johnson, the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development to join the effort and help identify land for a new police district building in the community.
The current 8th Chicago Police District is the busiest and largest by population, ranking first for all crimes committed across the city. It has the worst data points in the city on key police staffing metrics, which has led to slow police response times and resident frustration.
At its current size, which hasn’t changed since the late 1960s, the 8th District is the busiest and third-largest police district in the city (at 23 square miles) and serves the highest population with over 250,000 residents. That equates to 10 officers for every 10,000 residents, which is the lowest officer to resident ratio in the city.
“I will continue to fight every day to make sure people feel safe in our community, but I can’t do it alone,” Ald. Marty Quinn (13) said.
“I’m proud to stand with so many of my colleagues in this critical effort. Each of us recognizes the need for more support in our communities and the outstanding work our officers do every day. But there simply aren’t enough police officers to serve our growing Southwest Side communities that deserve to feel safe and protected.”
The group is pushing for an additional police district that would reduce the size of the 8th District by 150,000 residents and redraw the beat sizes, improving public safety and quality of life for residents and officers alike. The group would also like to ensure that officers serving the new district remain there and are not moved to other areas of the city.
The group is proposing a new police district that extends from I-55 on its northern boundary to 87th Street on the southern boundary and from Central Park Avenue on the eastern edge to Harlem Avenue on the western border.
“I am focused on ensuring our communities and residents are safe while providing our brave police officers with the resources they need,” Rep. Angie Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22) said.
“Creating an additional police district will achieve both of these goals, and I am committed to making it happen.”
“We know residents are concerned about public safety and we see every day how our officers are pushed to their limits, and we can’t continue this way,” Sen. Mike Porfirio (D-11) said.
“It’s time we take a close look at the policing issues on the Southwest Side and work together to create an additional police district that supports our police and our communities.”
“I support the proposal to create a new police district on Chicago’s Southwest side,” said Rep. Aarón Ortíz (D-1).
“Our community recognizes the need for enhanced safety and community engagement. This strategic move ensures that our diverse and densely populated neighborhoods receive the focused attention they deserve, fostering a safer environment for all residents.”
“Adding another police district on the Southwest Side just makes good common sense,” said. Rep. Cyril Nichols (D-1).
“The bottom line is that people want to feel safe in their neighborhoods.”
Recognizing the need in their own nearby communities, other Southwest Side alderpersons have joined the call to create an additional police district, representing a diverse coalition of voices and backgrounds.
“This is an important initiative that I’m proud to bring to light,” Ald. Silvana Tabares (23) said.
“By joining our voices and support together, we can do what is right for our Southwest Side communities and our brave police officers.”
“Our 8th District police officers and community members are at a dangerous disadvantage,” said Ald. Jeylú Gutiérrez (14).
“Community members call the police when they feel unsafe, and when they experience slow response times it makes them feel even more vulnerable. This is unacceptable which is why we need this district to be split.”
“Today we stand united in our common effort to bring increased public safety through a long-overdue, common sense solution to the Southwest Side of Chicago,” said Ald. Ray Lopez (15).
“For too long we have watched City Hall bureaucrats ignore the calls from our neighborhoods to divide the 8th District. Geography size and population works against our collective goal of keeping our constituents and businesses safe.”
“The current 8th District cannot operate much longer as it currently stands,” said Ald. David Moore (17).
“We are uniting behind a common cause to make things right for our residents and the police. It’s the only choice we have.”
“Every day I witness the obstacles 8th District police officers experience responding to such a large and growing area,” Ald. Derrick Curtis (18) said.
“We can no longer live with exhausted police officers and fearful residents. We are demanding change now.”
The group gathered today at the Clearing Branch Library, the same location where Mayor Richard M. Daley and then-alderman Mike Zalewski made a plea for a satellite police district that opened in April 2010, but closed in 2019.
Attendees at the press conference included:
- Ald. Quinn (13)
- Rep. Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22)
- Sen. Mike Porfirio (D-11)
- Rep. Aaron Ortiz (D-1)
- Rep. Cyril Nichols (D-32)
- Ald. Gutierrez (14)
- Ald. Lopez (15)
- Ald. Coleman (16)
- Ald. Moore (17)
- Ald. Curtis (18)
- Ald. Tabares (23)
- Clearing Night Force
- Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch
- West Lawn Neighborhood Watch
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