Your Neighborhood Policemen


What would make a policeman volunteer to take up residency in a housing development? Why would they move out of a comfortable, peaceful, low density environment into an overpopulated, noisy, low income development with graffitti written walls and metal grates that shadow halls which smell of urine ever so often?

I recently interviewed two C.H.A.P.D. officers who moved into the ABLA development. I asked them the formidable question, “what prompted you into volunteering to move into one of the chicago housing authority’s complexes?” I found out why they took on the challenge. A nobler pair of men cannot be found anywhere in the world.

Interviews with officers Jimmy Boyd and David Hickman

Q: Why did you volunteer?

JB: We felt that community policing was needed and that it couldn’t be accomplished in an 8-hour period so we chose to implant ourselves into the community. That way, we represent the people and the police department making a difference with the people. Plus, we’re building an understanding exactly what both sides need to help each other by being in the development living in the community plus serving it.

Q: Do you think that all major developments should have a mini station and how do you benefit the community by taking up residency?

Yes, they should because there is no better way to get involved than to live in residency for officers. What better way to serve your community than living there? What better way to understand problems when they come about?

Q: How do you benefit the community by taking up residency in ABLA?

JB: It takes more than eight hours a day to understand what’s going on. To show that I’m no different than you, I live there to be a positive role model. I’m not part of a negative environment, not drunk all the time. I’m going to work every day, getting up and doing something through the day. Even if they see this man sweeping in front of his door, they see something positive and when they see that they know that they (the children )can do it, too.

Q: Why did you volunteer?

DH: I volunteered because I’ve been policing for 4 years and my concern is for the community and residents.

I can make a difference living with the people, letting them know that I’m here to provide a service, not just as a police officer but as a neighbor as well. Not that we are on 24-hour call because we’re not. We just happen to live and work in the same community of ABLA.

The tenant patrol is slight and it needs to be up and running so that some time in the future we will not be needed as much. If things work out, we won’t be needed at all.

Q: What type of relationship do you have with the residents and do you think that your residency here will be effective?

JB: We have an excellent rapport with the residents and we are effective. We stand behind what we say. If children see me getting up every day and being active in the community, that’s a positive role model.

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