CPD putting “cops on the dots” with temporary 50-officer train patrol

A man checks his phone while waiting for a Red Line train at the Chicago station in August 2019. | File

The Chicago police department is preparing to deploy a temporary task force to address crime on the CTA’s elevated train system.

News of the plan emerged hours after CWBChicago yesterday reported that CPD and CTA leaders were preparing significant changes in the way the two agencies address rail safety.

“I want to put cops on dots,” CTA Vice President of Security Kevin Ryan told CWBChicago this week, referring to L stations that are represented by dots on the transit system’s maps.

The police department seems to be moving in Ryan’s direction with the patrol surge, which will run from March 5 to Memorial Day.

Two or three officers will be pulled from each of the city’s 22 police districts to staff the mobile patrol unit for about eight hours each evening, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Still not known is how the police department will handle CTA patrols after Memorial Day, during the summer months that typically see a higher number of violent crime incident.s

Tuesday afternoon, the police department began a temporary manpower surge to keep a lid on problems along the downtown transit system and Michigan Avenue leading up to Saturday’s NBA All-Star Game at the United Center.

CPD will deploy over 100 recent police academy graduates known as probationary police officers along Michigan Avenue from Oak Street through the Loop and on the Red Line during evening hours for the next few days, according to an officer with knowledge of the plan.

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The police department and CTA are expected to announce significant, long-term changes to the way the two agencies address safety aboard the city’s train lines in the coming weeks.

Both Ryan and CPD Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi told CWBChicago this week that changes in staffing and interagency operations are among the issues to be addressed. 

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com