Last night, I attended a West District community safety meeting. Hosted by the West command staff, invited guests in attendance included a number of alders (Alders Phair, King, Clear, Martin, and Skidmore) as well as representatives of various Westside neighborhood associations and neighborhood watch groups. The meeting was held to provide some context to the recent gun violence but also to discuss ways/means in which these grass roots citizen leaders can feel more empowered and assisted in organizing self-help measures, one household/one block at a time.
Our premise of community policing has been simple and straightforward:
1. The police cannot go it alone. (Never could/never can). We need help! Thus, we are reliant on . . .
2. Authentic and organic relationships of trust. Without trust, we can't be legitimate partners in exploring and addressing areas of mutual concern. BUT, if we can view our relationship as one of partners, THEN . . .
3. Together we can address various problem solving initiatives.
The conversation at this meeting was robust, challenging, discouraging--at times, but ultimately "hopeful." The District Command staff encouraged the participants to go back into their respective neighborhoods and begin a self-assessment of what needs are greatest and then offered resources from MPD to assist in the goal of helping all of our residents feel confident and supported in the midst of the din and clamor of "shots fired" calls. Specifically, the District demonstrated how the Department can provide subject matter experts on a host of topics (gangs, drugs, crime prevention, how to go about building a neighborhood infrastructure of relationship building through our Good Neighbor Project, chatting with beat cops at "Coffee with a Cop" gatherings, or even hosting neighbors in an informal setting and asking officers to come in to talk about anything/everything--no holds barred!).
Attendees also heard from the District's Command staff in learning about the criteria used in determining which cases are assigned for follow-up (and the logistical obstacles as well as capacity issues that prevent us from taking on more), the nuances of placing a call to dispatch, the stark realities of our staffing issues, and some discussion of the role of specialized units like our neighborhood police officers, our community policing teams (CPTs), and TEST (Traffic Enforcement and Safety Team).
A lot of ground was covered in a little over two hours and I believe that there was a buzz of optimism in the air as people filed out of the community room. I use this as an illustration of what can/should be happening in ALL of our districts throughout the City. MPD is a resource for organizing/mobilizing our residents . . .one only needs to ask what we can and will provide YOUR group!
Now to today's snapshot of calls:
From 5:30am on 07/31/2017 through 5:30am on 08/01/2017, MPD received 533 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials.
1) EAST: Information – 12:00pm. Officers responded to two possible sightings of one of the persons of interest in the W Karstens Dr homicide. Neither subject was the individual sought by MPD.
2) CENTRAL: Missing Adult - 9:32pm, MPD was dispatched to meet the caller at a local homeless shelter regarding a missing adult. The missing adult (WM, 58yo) was released from a local hospital today around 2:00pm after a short stay in the psychiatric unit. The missing adult was provided a bus ticket from the hospital with instructions to head to a particular shelter but he never arrived. The missing adult has various mental health issues and medical needs. The subject is not familiar with the area, has no vehicle, money, or working phone. The callers were his ex-wife and son, concerned for his welfare. Listed as missing/endangered, attempt to locate (ATL) aired.
3) NORTH: Shots Fired - 11:51pm. MPD was dispatched to a shots fired complaint in the 300 block of N. Sixth St, with the caller stating that they thought they heard tires squealing afterward as well. One caller only, officers arrived and were unable to locate any scene or evidence of the shots fired. A citizen contacted in the area stated that they observed two vehicles racing around the neighborhood and heard "pop, pop, pop." The vehicles were described as an older model red Cadillac (1980s style) and a dark blue Buick LeSabre.
4) NORTH: Disturbance/Person with Gun - 12:17am. MPD was dispatched to an active disturbance with one suspect having a gun concealed under his jacket in the 1600 block of Wright St. Officers arrived and located three subjects in a verbal argument walking down the sidewalk (father, mother, and teenage daughter). Father and mother are separated. Father and mother were in a verbal argument over money. All subjects were cooperative with officers and no weapons were involved or on anyone's person. The original caller would not answer their phone or their door when officers attempted to contact them for further information. Officers concluded the call by assisting in preserving the peace. All parties were released with no further action.
5) CENTRAL: Death Investigation - 1:17am. MPD was dispatched to a pulseless non-breathing subject (PNB) at a residence in the 700 block of E. Gorham St. Officers arrived and located the deceased subject (WM, 63 yo) who had terminal cancer. The death appears to be due to natural causes. The Medical Examiner responded to scene.
6) EAST: Shots Fired - 3:39am. MPD was dispatched to shots fired in the 5400 block of Forge Drive with the caller possibly hearing three shots and a car alarm. Nothing was seen by the caller. Officers responded, checked the area, and were unable to locate any scene or evidence of the shots fired.