CDO Interview: Chicago Police First Deputy Al Wysinger

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He’s been with the Chicago Police Department for 25 years, working his way from the West Side to police headquarters on 35th Street and Michigan Avenue. First Deputy Al Wysinger started out in the 11th District and quickly moved up the ranks. He&rsq

He’s been with the Chicago Police Department for 25 years, working his way from the West Side to police headquarters on 35th Street and Michigan Avenue. First Deputy Al Wysinger started out in the 11th District and quickly moved up the ranks. He’s served as commander of the 15th District, deputy chief of gangs and drugs and deputy chief of detectives. ChicagoDefender.com talked with new First Deputy Wysinger about his plans for a safer city. ChicagoDefender.com: What’s your goal in the first 60 to 90 days? Al Wysinger: Make Chicago a safer city than it was this time last year and it was 60 to 90 years ago. (We’ll) try to tamp down on some of the violence, and again, to build inroads with the community and strengthen the bond within the community and the police department. CDO: How will the department foster community trust? Wysinger: Just being more highly visible and more accessible, and asking for your input and your help. We need the community to be our eyes and ears. We can’t do it alone. If you go in various communities throughout the city, you’ll find the correlation between community, jobs and (the) crime rate. The more involved the community is, the better and safer the community is. We have to get the community to stop turning a blind eye to crime and start reporting the perpetrators. CDO: You mentioned (at recent community meeting) bringing back foot patrols. Wysinger: With the new administration, we want to go in a different direction and that direction is to build more trust with our community. The easiest way to do that is to get our officers out of those vehicles and get them to actually walk and talk. That’s what it was called 25 years ago when I first came, “Walk and Talk.” They will actually park the squad cars and get out there and interact with the community. It’s a way for us to get to know the good guys from the bad guys. It’s also a way for the community to get to see us in a different light. CDO: Talk about Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS). Wysinger: I don’t think the police officers will have such a major role as we played in the past. CAPS was originally designed to have a small law enforcement component but a much larger community component. Somewhere along the line we ended up with law enforcement taking the largest component and giving the community a small component. We’re going to re-direct that and get things back in proper priority with the community having the largest portion. Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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