Neighbor groups in Lincoln Square and Northcenter are taking a decidedly calm tack to the proposed merger of the 19th and 23rd Police Districts. The local attitude is in sharp contrast to the proposed merger of the 13th District in East Village into the 12th District, where neighbors have rallied and already held a protest at the 13th District station.
“It’s difficult to comment until all the details are clarified, but in principle our area is one of the safest in the city thanks in no small part to the efforts of our local district police and their direct involvement with the community,” said Eric Sinclair, President of the Greater Rockwell Organization. “I would hate to see the necessary cost containment efforts which the city must undertake compromise the gains of the last years in safety and the interaction and presence which drives it.”
In a crisp letter addressed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel today, Julie Hobart, President of the Northcenter Neighborhood Association stated the group’s opposition to the merger, but qualified opposition so long as a number of conditions were met and the group was given an opportunity to meet with the Mayor. [read the letter at the end of this article]
“We will wholeheartedly support initiatives that encourage improvement in the entire Chicago community, but not if an initiative reverses the progress and hard-earned safety of our own District,” wrote Hobart.
The group’s conditions for support are specific: that the former 19th District receive the same number of officers on the beat; there be continued email communication from district command; assignment a full-time community liaison to the former 19th District; that 911 response times stay the same and that the former 19th District the same proportionate increase in patrol officers as the 23rd as a result of the merger.