Police District 12 council candidates share public safety priorities

One-on-one discussion in meeting room.
Leo Quintero (from left), William Guerrero and 36th Ward aldermanic candidate David Herrera talk to EVA members after the Roots Pizza West Town meeting.

Feb. 28 vote to launch Chicago accountability boards

Chicago voters on Feb. 28 will choose citizens to follow through on neighborhood public safety concerns. East Village Association members heard Feb. 6 from three Police District Council candidates who hope to act as a check on West Side police.

Down-ballot from mayor and alderman races, six candidates are competing to fill three seats on a board that will meet monthly to "build connections between the police and the community." Atttending the Feb. 6 meeting, John Donatelli, William Guerrero and Leonardo Quintero pledged to report to EVA members and take their concerns to 12th District Commander Beth Giltmier.

Donatelli, a Roscoe Village real estate broker, hopes to influence spending priorities. As an example, he questioned whether expanding the helicopter fleet was a wise use of police resources.

Guerrero, a Pilsen artist and the city's youngest police council candidate, wants to bring youth to the table and advocate for school, park and violence prevention programs, including the Treatment Not Trauma plan for non-emergency crisis response.

Quintero, a Pilsen youth coach, shares a platform with Michelle Page and Chloe Vitale to promote community court, violence interrupters and second-chance programs. While the council can only advise on misconduct, Quintero noted that it can request investigation records from the police and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Election results

Commission to shape policing practices

Candidates are running in each of Chicago's 22 police districts. Council members citywide will nominate members of a mayoral commission to set goals and evaluate the performance of the police superintendent, COPA administrator and Police Board president.

Former state trooper Juan Lopez is also running in District 12. Information on all candidates is online at Ballotpedia, Block Club Chicago and the Chicago Reader.

Division Street is the boundary between the Chicago Police Districts 12 to the south and 14 to the north.

Forums follow fatal shootings

Public safety has been an issue at the top of the ballot, in races for mayor and alderman. A string of violent crimes brought broadcast TV cameras to a Jan. 17 safety meeting after a bouncer was shot and killed early Jan. 1 outside the Lyon's Den hookah lounge, 2123 W. Division.

A March 2 video hearing will consider the hookak lounge's deleterious impact. The residents group Ukrainian Village Safety Advocates organized a petition asking for the review. Organizers sLinda Buczyna and Cathy Micinski asked EVA members to contact uvsafetyadvocatesd@gmail.com for details on how to attend online.

Chicago has fewer options to limit the hookah lounge, Giltmier and 14th district Commander Elizabeth Collazo said at the Jan. 17 meeting, joined by aldermen Daniel La Spata (1st) and Brian Hopkins (2nd). The BYOB lounge has a Public Place of Amusement license but does not sell liquor.

Bourbon on Division principal Joe Lin has been responsive to the safety advocates. The late-night bar at 2050 W. Division St. uses concealed-weapon detectors and a five-member security team. The group encorages EVA residents who see trouble to call police and follow up with aldermen.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) held a public safety forum with prosecutors Jan. 11 following fatal gunfire Dec. 19 in the rooftop parking deck of the Mariano's grocery at 2021 W. Chicago Ave. Kim Ward, head of the Cook County State's Attorney felony review unit, noted that many crime incidents lack the witness testimony and evidence to support a charge. Of the 200 West Town cases prosected last year, 78% won convictions.

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