James Cappleman, 46th Ward:
"Like all other cities across the country, Chicago must maximize its services during a time of ever shrinking budget constraints. Two areas that I am focused on with regard to the City's budget are:
- Establishment of clear outcome measures to assess how well every City department is doing its job
- Public safety concerns
Public Safety. Last week, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon discussed his efforts to address gang violence in Chicago and stated, "We're not going to arrest our way out of the gang problem that we have in the city of Chicago," emphasizing the need for Chicago to become more aggressive with addressing poverty, employment, and parenting skills.
Given that Chicago ranks near the higher end of the percentage of city funds spent on public safety (58% compared with New York City which spends 38%), it's clear we need to make better use of our resources.
19th District Police Commander Voulgaris is responding to these concerns in the 46th Ward by re-establishing a "community outreach" team of 2 officers who will focus specifically on chronic drinking and people sleeping in public areas. There are two CIT officers who will be assigned to this new unit. This will allow other police officers to focus more on other serious crime within our ward.
In addition to the 2 CIT officers, Commander Voulgaris has made the commitment to return our beat officers walking in areas where there have been higher amounts of drug activity. The Safe Passage Program had created a cut-back on this, but it is clear that beat officers walking the streets are too important for public safety in our neighborhoods. I want the public and the local businesses to know their beat officers well so that we can stay on top of crime and address it quickly before it gets out of hand.
Due to a commitment to improve both of these areas, I decided to vote yes on the City's 2014 Budget. It's not perfect.... no budget ever is, but both the Mayor's Office and the Police were able to work with me to address my concerns."