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Chicago's rookie cops return to community policing

The initiative puts newer officers on foot patrol to make citizens feel safer and open communication between police and residents

By Jeremy Gorner
The Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Fresh from the police academy and three months of street training, up to 16 rookie cops a night patrol some of the city's most dangerous blocks on foot as part of a new initiative that is a throwback to the department's days of old.

Superintendent Garry McCarthy calls it a return to community policing, but it also is designed to beef up the police presence in tough neighborhoods and give the new cops a taste of life on the street. The effort started off modestly less than two months ago with only a couple of dozen officers, but McCarthy has hopes of significantly increasing the numbers by adding newly minted cops to the foot patrols as they complete the academy and field training.

The officers walk in pairs or sometimes in packs of four or more, chatting up passersby and employees in liquor stores, barber shops and other businesses. Working nine-hour shifts from evening into early morning, they write parking tickets, check for squatters in vacant buildings and occasionally pop out of dark gangways or dimly lit side streets. The foot officers also write up a lot of "contact cards" to keep a record of the names, addresses and phone numbers of those they routinely stop.

Full Story: Rookie cops walking South Side streets

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