Can a partnership between CeaseFire and the Chicago Police Department work? Tio Hardiman, director of the anti-violence group, joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.
Chicago Tonight spoke with St. Sabina Church Pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, about the partnership. Read our Q&A below.
What are your thoughts about the new partnership between the Chicago Police Department and CeaseFire?
I have not seen what the agreement is. One of my concerns is, while we are engaging the Interrupters and CeaseFire, have we engaged the residents? It’s got to be a partnership with the community. Tio is great. Tio is committed. But here’s what I don’t want to happen. When we heard all the police strategies coming out, residents withdrew. They said police will take care of it. ‘CeaseFire is coming in, now we have CeaseFire and the police.’ We are foolish if we think we are going to handle this without bringing in the residents.
How do you think the residents should be involved?
We need to re-engage and revolutionize the block club concept. We need to do training with residents on their blocks about how to be empowered and reconnected with their block. What I’d like to see is a city block club convention where we train people from all over the city. We train them, teach them, empower them and have them work with CeaseFire and the police department.
I have great respect for Tio and his work. My concern still is that we are putting in the police part and the Interrupters part, which are both good, but until we get the community brought in, we are never going to turn this thing around. The Interrupters don’t live on the block. The police don’t live on the block and in the neighborhoods. There has not been this partnership that needs to take place in the districts with residents and business owners. This is a piece that’s very crucial.
Until we get people on the block to take control, until we engage and empower people on the block in a partnership with law enforcement, we are going to fail, I believe.
Are you concerned that CeaseFire will lose some of its street credibility by this new partnership?
That’s not for me to answer, that’s for Tio to answer. I’m sure he feels they won’t or they wouldn’t agree to be a part of it. It’s a cautious walk for him.
Are you concerned that residents will be hesitant to break the code of silence, and come forward and work with CeaseFire because of distrust of the police?
I’m more concerned that people are just going to become less involved, and feel not needed to be involved. ‘We don’t have to do this. We’re looking for somebody else to do it.’ Withdrawing: that’s my real concern. I would like to see, in every district, a team with a project. A team of CeaseFire, residents, block clubs, church leaders coming together, putting up a plan for the neighborhood where all is engaged and all on an equal level of responsibility. Just like [CPD Superintendent Garry] McCarthy talked about CompStat holding police accountable, I would love to see CompStat in the communities, and them being held responsible for what they will do about violence from one meeting to the next.
What are your thoughts about the partnership between CeaseFire and the Chicago Police Department? Post your comments below or sound off on our discussion board!