It’s “citizen,” and the Chicago Police Department hasn’t forgotten that. But the citizen and business partnership is the one part of the CLEAR (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting system) vision that has yet to be realized. Applications were supposed to make it easier for citizens to conduct business with the police, file complaints and share information. And although Chicago has had an innovative community policing program in place since 1993, “I’m beginning to champ at the bit because I want to conceptualize the [CLEAR] community applications, which we’ve done very little in to this point,” says Barbara McDonald, deputy superintendent of administrative services.
The department holds monthly beat meetings with citizens and provides a crime-mapping tool (http://184.108.40.206) and up-to-date crime stats for individual neighborhoods on its website. But other citizen participation plans have had to wait in line behind the development of CLEAR’s infrastructure and crime-fighting tools. The department trumpets its crime-solving accomplishments though its CrimeWatch public service TV show, but McDonald says the department’s reputation has not improved as much among the citizenry as it has among other law enforcement agencies.