Chicago Cops Meeting With Gang Members In Schools


Chicago police officers are moving beyond gang-conflicted streets and into public high schools to meet with students for nonconfrontational conversations about what drives the violence and how to prevent it, says the Chicago Tribune. The pilot program challenges the image of gang officers chasing and collaring offenders.

In this case, officers listen, lend help and speak frankly about what kind of trouble the student might be in. “I don’t want them to arrest,” said Cmdr. Leo Schmitz, head of the gang enforcement unit. “That’s not why we are there. [] We’re getting guys who can be potential victims or potential offenders and trying to talk them out of the violence.” Since spring, officers assigned to the Gang School Safety Team have held more than 300 “interventions” in nearly 20 Chicago public schools. Schmitz said the 10 officers assigned to the team go into schools based on daily reports of violence or shootings. They meet with friends and associates of those involved in shootings – especially victims.

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